Becoming a parent is one of the most special things you can experience in your life. Unfortunately though, not all newborns come out 100% healthy. If any birth defects come about due to potential medical malpractice or negligence, it can be doubly devastating.
This was the unfortunate case for Michelle Holweger, who was admitted to a naval hospital during the 35th week of her pregnancy because of significant cramping. About an hour after she was admitted, the expectant mother was attached to a fetal monitor where it was discovered her baby’s heart rate was almost non-existent.
So about 2 ½ hours after her admission, Michelle underwent an emergency cesarean section where it was discovered she had experienced a placental abruption. Once her daughter was born, she required intensive care due to respiratory distress. Her Apgar scores were dangerously low – one at one minute and two at five minutes.
Michelle’s daughter, now 5, has been diagnosed with having developmental delays and cerebral palsy.
Individually and on their daughter’s behalf, the Holwegers sued the United States government alleging that the mother was not properly triaged and attached to a fetal monitor quick enough. Their suit also alleged the hospital staff did not properly interpret the fetal monitoring strips and that they failed to perform the cesarean section in a timely manner.
Because of these delays, the parents (plaintiffs) claim their daughter suffered hypoxi-ischemic encephalopathy.
Defendants in this case claim that Holweger didn’t exhibit signs of placental abruption and that the cesarean delivery had been done in a timely manner.
The two parties settled the case for about $2.3 million.
Medical malpractice involving newborns can be particularly troubling, especially considering that many birth defects can have lifelong impacts. If you think negligence played a part in any of this, you should consider any legal options to help you cope with ongoing medical expenses for your child.
Medical malpractice attorneys at the Gilreath Law Firm in Nashville/Knoxville can help you determine if you have a case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Original story appeared in the August, 2011 issue of Trial magazine