Child Who Suffered Cognitive Impairment and Cerebral Palsy due to Delay in Birth

A couple went to the local hospital as a result of pre-term labor.  Less than 36 weeks pregnant there is always a concern about whether the baby will be able to thrive outside of the womb without suffering brain damage leading to cerebral palsy.  Upon arrival, the mother was placed on fetal monitoring to watch both her contractions and the baby’s heart rate in response to those contractions.

Unfortunately, plaintiff’s investigation showed that the healthcare providers ignored the developing signs that the baby was struggling and in distress.  Despite the evidence of late decelerations of the baby’s heart rate, the healthcare professionals allowed the pregnancy to continue even though such decelerations showed that the baby was not receiving sufficient oxygenation at the time.

Finally, when the baby’s heart rate dropped significantly and could not be brought back up, the healthcare professionals decided to perform an emergency C-section.  By the time the baby was finally delivered he had suffered brain damage resulting in cognitive disabilities and cerebral palsy.

At the time that Mr. Heath became involved there was an offer of 3.5 million dollars on the table, which the healthcare providers were attempting to convince the court that the plaintiff should be required to accept.  In the cases of minors or people with mental disability, the court has the authority to determine whether a settlement is within the best interests of the minor under the circumstances.  Mr. Heath was able to convince the court not to accept the offer.  Instead, he pursued further discovery in the case which ultimately settled for 7 million dollars, or twice the original offer.