Massachusetts Birth Injury Lawsuit

To file a birth injury lawsuit in Massachusetts, a family or injured party must file within three years of the date of injury, or within three years of discovery of injury, up to the child’s ninth birthday. After the child turns nine, the case is no longer considered valid in the Massachusetts court. Massachusetts law places a 500,000-dollar cap on non-economic damages that can be awarded to children who suffered a birth injury, but there is no cap on economic damages, or those damages that directly relate to the cost of medical care and legal fees.

Cooley Dickenson Hospital Case

In 2013, a woman gave birth to a daughter who was injured during the birth, which caused her to develop cerebral palsy and pseudobulbar palsy. In 2016, when the child was two years old, the family filed a medical malpractice suit against Cooley Dickenson Hospital, where the child was born.

The lawsuit claims that the doctor who delivered the baby did not inform the woman of the risks involved with a traditional delivery due to the specifics of her medical history, and did not take emergency action when the woman’s uterus ruptured during the birth. The child was eventually delivered through a C-section in a brain damaged state. Her lifelong medical needs will include treatment for the inability to control involuntary muscle movements, and therapy for the underdeveloped muscles in her face, as well as speech therapy.

This isn’t the first time that Cooley Dickenson Hospital has been investigated for malpractice. In 2014, there were six instances of alleged negligence resulting in birth injury, including three that resulted in the infant’s death. In 2013, a mother died while giving birth because, the family alleged, the staff failed to recognize signs of eclampsia during her delivery.

The Massachusetts Department of Health, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, were both involved with those investigations. The family seeking retribution in the most recent case filed for unspecified damages.

Holyoke Family Case

Just a month before that case was filed, a Massachusetts superior court awarded a Holyoke family 30 million dollars for the medical care of their child, who suffered permanent neurological disorders after a birth injury.

In that case, a total of six individual doctors were charged with negligence during the 2004 birth of a child who is now unable to walk or speak, is legally blind, has a tracheotomy to breathe, and must be fed through tubes. These conditions are permanent, and the child will need lifelong care.

A jury eventually found that only one of the doctors was responsible for the birth injury that caused the child’s condition, who was operating without a license at the time of the birth. Of the nearly 30 million dollars that was ordered in damages, 16 million was allotted for future care. Nearly 2.5 million was awarded for the family’s lost earnings and previously paid medical care. And the rest went to cover various non-economic damages measured against the child’s entire lifetime up to age 84. Legal fees and other associated costs are also covered in this award.

Attorneys who specialize in birth injury lawsuits in Massachusetts were there to help this family, and the family suing the Cooley Dickenson Hospital, file within the correct time frame, and to present the right type of evidence needed to prove malpractice. In these cases, detailed records surrounding the pregnancy, birth, and immediate pediatric care are vital for proving that negligent care was the cause of the birth injury. Expert witnesses to testify that malpractice did happen may also be required by the court.

Sources:

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/02/jury_in_springfield_awards_nea.html

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/03/lawsuit_blames_delivery_doctor.html

http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/birth-injury/financial-support/statute-limitations/

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