Facts presented during the original civil trial and considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit included the following:
- The woman had a history of preeclampsia, which can lead to excess bleeding after delivery.
- The delivery doctor had earlier lost a case involving a birth injury caused by his mistakes during a C-section.
- Nurses who checked on the woman as she lay in a hospital bed following the procedure missed or ignored monitors showing that her blood pressure was steadily dropping, her heart rate was steadily increasing and her bed sheets were becoming covered in blood.
- The woman suffered a stroke that caused permanent brain damage and physical disabilities.
- The woman had reached a settlement for her birth injuries and brain damage with the U.S. government, which employed her delivery doctor.
This video provides valuable information about preeclampsia and the risks mothers and babies face if pregnancy-related blood pressure problems are not detected and treated correctly at an early stage:
The court's award will be reduced by the amount of the settlement with the federal government, but the money will undoubtedly go a long way in helping the woman, her children and the rest of her family deal with the aftereffects of the surgical error and subsequent brain damage. While most people think of infants developing cerebral palsy or sustaining physical injuries such as dislocated shoulders when they hear the term "birth injury," this case shows that mothers are as much at risk as their newborns when doctors and nurses do not meet their responsibilities to provide top-quality care.
As a Virginia Beach, VA-based medical malpractice attorney myself, I know that anyone harmed by medical negligence or mistakes must often take hospitals and health care providers to trial in order to receive the compensation they need to recover physically, financially and mentally. I am pleased that this case was resolved in the injured mother's favor.