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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
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or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

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Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Birth Brain Injury Settlements in Ohio – Overview

Doctors and other medical care providers are held to a high standard of treatment. When a doctor fails to provide proper care or is negligent and a significant injury occurs the doctor should be held accountable. Parents of children who suffered a brain birth injury are often entitled to compensation from the negligent party. A lawsuit is necessary to obtain money necessary to cover the child’s medical and other expenses. Many lawsuits result in settlements before the matter goes to trial. Lawsuits of this type can be complex. An experienced birth injury attorney will assist in achieving the best outcome.

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Determining How Much Compensation to Expect

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The amount of compensation that will be awarded in birth brain injury cases depends on many factors. The severity of the injury and prognosis of the child are certainly considered. Those who were severely injured with lifelong physical and mental disabilities will have medical and other care expenses that will be extremely high.

There are two main types of damages for which compensation may be awarded in medical malpractice cases including economic and non-economic. Economic damages those that are capable of exact calculation. These include such things as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, surgical care, future medical costs, and any other costs that are incurred because of the injury. A life care plan is helpful in documenting the estimated future economic needs of a child over his lifetime.

Non-economic damages are those that can’t be specifically calculated. Some non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, disfigurement, paralysis, or trauma. These damages cannot be determined as easily as economic damages.

There is not a legal limit on economic damages, but in Ohio there is a limit on non-economic damages. Non-economic damages cannot exceed $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages in the case. In cases where the patient suffered catastrophic injuries the cap could be raised to $500,000.

Limitations on cases can be challenged in some instances. For example, a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision sided with the patient stating that Wisconsin’s cap on non-economic damages in cases of medical malpractice is not constitutional. They further stated that the cap puts those who are seriously injured at a disadvantage.

Life Care Plans

A life care plan is a document that addresses the needs and expenses of patients with severe or chronic illnesses or injuries such as those with brain injuries. It can be instrumental in helping to estimate a child’s long-term medical and care expenses over his lifetime. Life care plans are important tools in determining the physical and financial requirements of a child. A plan is developed specifically for the child so that it encompasses all of his unique needs.

A certified life care planner works with the child’s medical team and others to develop a comprehensive plan. Some of the important considerations include current and future medical care, surgical care, home health care or facility care requirements, medications, medical supplies, diagnostic testing, evaluations, therapy, transportation, wheelchair requirements, orthotics and rehabilitation. The plan should also address educational needs and their associated costs.

Settlement Negotiations

The legal process after filing a lawsuit can be lengthy and complex. In many instances a settlement is a good option for both parties. The doctor, medical team, hospital or others responsible for the infant’s injury often prefer to settle the case to avoid unfavorable publicity. Hospitals, doctors and care facilities negotiate settlements through their insurance providers. Settlement negotiations may provide a more favorable result more quickly than taking the matter to trial.

Birth Brain Injury Settlement Results

There have been many medical malpractice birth injury lawsuits that were settled before going to trial. Some have provided quite large multiple million dollar settlement figures.

Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University settled a lawsuit for more than $5 million with parents from Hilliard whose infant was born brain-dead due to negligence. In this case the woman entered the hospital in the evening in labor. The doctor did not take the steps necessary to assist in delivery and delayed a Cesarean section until morning. As a result, the baby suffered severe and irreversible brain damage. The court found that the decision to delay the C-section was the main reason for the baby’s catastrophic brain damage.

An Ohio case of medical malpractice resulted in a $1.7 million settlement. In this case the medical team utilized vacuum extraction to assist in the birth. The lawsuit states that the vacuum extractor was used improperly. The negligent use of equipment caused a bleed on the infant’s brain and hypovolemic shock. This resulted in brain damage to the baby.

In another case, a $19.5 million settlement was reached in a medical malpractice case against Moses Taylor Hospital in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The details of the case indicate that the woman was admitted to the hospital with signs of placental abruption. The doctor performed an ultrasound before performing a C-section. The baby sustained a severe brain injury due to hypoxia, loss of oxygen. The child did not have a detectable heart rate for 12 minutes which resulted in brain injury, visual impairment, renal failure and seizures.

A settlement of $29.1 million was awarded to an Illinois family whose baby suffered brain injuries at birth that left him quadriplegic. The mother’s water broke but she was not provided with adequate antibiotics. As a result the baby suffered an infection that was not treated at birth. The infection spread to the infant’s blood stream resulting in permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.

When a settlement is provided it typically is put directly into a trust fund specifically for the needs of the child. The birth of a child with a brain injury is devastating to families. Parents are advised to take steps to determine what happened and to ensure the doctor or others are held accountable for their negligence.