Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Lawsuit Ends in $13.9M Award

vacuum extractionAn Ohio family received a $14 million settlement after an obstetrician used improper delivery techniques to deliver a baby girl. The child suffered significant, permanent brain damage as the result of the botched delivery.

The Story of Haley Cobb and Improper Delivery Techniques

On January 4th, 2000, Haley Cobb was born at the Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Ohio. Unfortunately, Haley was involved in a botched delivery that left her with permanent, severe brain damage. The obstetrician, Dr. Tara Shipman, used a vacuum device and contraction-inducing drugs to deliver Haley. According to the Cobb family, these decisions led to Haley’s permanent injuries.

Instead of recommending a life-saving cesarean section procedure, Dr. Shipman went forward with a vaginal birth. Experts explain that an emergency C-section could have prevented Haley’s brain damage and resulting cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition caused by brain injury before, during, and right after birth. One of the most common causes of cerebral palsy is oxygen deprivation, which can cause permanent brain damage. The severity of the effects of this deprivation range from mild to extreme, depending on how long the brain goes without oxygen.

Haley suffered from severe brain damage due to the botched delivery. A C-section could have provided her with the oxygen she needed much quicker than a vaginal birth. Now, Haley will never walk and requires 24-hour care for her condition.

The Lawsuit Against Trumbull Memorial

Dr. Shipman’s defense attorney argued that lesions in the placenta caused Haley’s cerebral palsy. The defense claimed that this condition could have deprived Haley of oxygen for weeks or even months prior to delivery.

However, a medical expert testified that Dr. Shipman gave Haley’s mother labor-inducing drugs when the infant showed signs of fetal distress. A similarly trained and educated medical professional would have performed a C-section in this circumstance. In addition, Dr. Shipman left the delivery room for her office when she should have remained with Haley’s mother.

The lawsuit also named Dr. Edmundo Salero as a defendant. Although Dr. Salero passed away prior to the trial, Haley’s family claimed that his failed attempts to resuscitate Haley after her birth further contributed to her condition. The Cobbs settled with Dr. Salero’s estate and Trumbull Memorial prior to the case against Dr. Shipman.

The jury sided with the Cobbs and awarded them a $13.9 million lawsuit for Haley’s future medical care. The judge denied subsequent requests for a retrial by Dr. Shipman.

Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice

As stated earlier, cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that affects a person’s mobility and motor skills. In some cases, cerebral palsy can result in intellectual disability. The exact cause of cerebral palsy is not clear, according to experts. Complications during pregnancy, infections, untreated jaundice, and genetic disorders can all contribute to its development.

Although the condition ranges based on type and severity, common issues that cerebral palsy patients face include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Issues with motor skills
  • Speech problems
  • Too tight or too loose muscle tone
  • Uncontrollable reflexes
  • Excessive drooling
  • Blindness
  • Learning disabilities
  • Deafness
  • Tooth decay
  • Difficulty swallowing and sucking

One of the most common causes of cerebral palsy in medical malpractice lawsuits is oxygen deprivation. When a baby does not receive enough oxygen in the womb, he or she can begin to experience brain cell death. If a doctor does not work to provide oxygen to the baby immediately, permanent brain damage can occur and cerebral palsy can develop.

Doctors usually have fetal monitoring systems to monitor the baby’s heart rate and check for symptoms of fetal distress. Medical professionals receive extensive training on what to do when a baby goes into distress. When a baby does not have enough oxygen, doctors can tell from the fetal monitor. Ignoring the signals or failing to take immediate action can result in life-threatening consequences.

In the case of Haley Cobb, her doctor failed to give her oxygen as quickly as possible – leading to a significant breach in the standard of care and to Haley’s permanent disability. This case is a clear-cut example of medical malpractice and how improper delivery techniques can change a family’s life forever.

The Benefits of a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer

If you have a child with cerebral palsy due to medical negligence, consider hiring an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer to assist you with your birth injury lawsuit. Cerebral palsy attorneys can provide numerous benefits to a family, including:

  • Access to a wealth of resources and connections, including medical experts who can help you plan for your child’s life care plan and contribute scientific testimony on your behalf
  • Knowledge of medical malpractice law in your state, helping you handle the litigation process so you can focus on your child’s care
  • The legal background and training necessary to craft a compelling case in your favor
  • Experience finding and calculating optimal paths to maximum possible compensation for your child’s past and future medical care

Do you need an attorney for your child’s cerebral palsy case? Cerebral Palsy LLC can assist you. We have experience litigating medical malpractice cases throughout the United States, including cerebral palsy cases.

Visit our website today to receive your free case evaluation.