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Cerebral Palsy: A Common Birth Injury

The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion. But when complications occur, the consequences can be devastating. In many instances these birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice and should have been prevented.

In a recent case in Iowa, doctors gave a pregnant mother Pitocin, a new synthetic hormone that is supposed to speed up or induce labor. Unfortunately, the inappropriate use of Pitocin can cause excessive contractions, prolonged delivery and lack of blood flow to the baby's brain.

According to the Associated Press, that is indeed what happened. The mother gave birth to a baby boy who soon showed signs of cerebral palsy and other health problems.

Cerebral palsy is a serious and permanent condition that often requires a lifetime of care. Symptoms include problems with muscle coordination and the development normal motor skills. It can also result in issues related to impaired movement, such as difficulties in walking or even eating.

In the Iowa case, the family brought a lawsuit against the hospital and doctors involved. The goal was to obtain compensation to pay for past and future medical expenses the family will incur as a result of the child's condition. The case was settled recently for $3.75 million.

The baby was born in 2007 to a full-term mother. The family's lawsuit contended that the hospital staff gave the mother Pitocin before they properly assessed the frequency and strength of her contractions.

Even after contractions became excessive, the suit alleged, hospital staff continued to administer the drug. The baby was finally delivered by C-section after 28 hours of labor for the mother - and significant head trauma for her son, who is now 5.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Iowa to pay $3.75M in boy's injuries," Ryan Foley, July 1, 2012

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