$7.5 million malpractice settlement for brain-injured toddler

Expectant mothers in Ohio concerned about the health of their unborn children hope to get the best medical care during an emergency. However, one California woman says that the hospital that she went to because of severe abdominal pain was negligent. A medical resident discharged the woman, who was 39 weeks pregnant and living in a homeless shelter with two other children. She returned to the hospital 12 hours later in order to deliver her baby boy via emergency C-section.

The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed on behalf of the woman's child, who is now 18 months old. The suit claims that the toddler suffered a brain injury after getting insufficient oxygen when his mother suffered a ruptured uterus. According to the lawsuit, the woman did not see any of the attending obstetricians during the 14 hours she spent at the hospital's labor and delivery unit. The woman's attorney said that the hospital was anxious to release her because it did not take the extent of her pain seriously.

The hospital agreed to pay a $7.5 settlement to the toddler. As a result of the settlement, the woman's case will be reported to the California medical board. The settlement includes more than $300,000 allocated for the child's medical costs. This settlement is one of the largest approved in Los Angeles county in eight years.

The toddler needs round-the-clock care and was living in a facility away from his family. His mother would take a two-hour bus ride to visit him. Now, part of the settlement will go towards buying a home and providing him with medical care so he can live with his family.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Los Angeles County Settles $7.5M Medical Malpractice Suit", November 07, 2013

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