Update on Birth Injury Suit against Hospital by Family of Boy Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy
Earlier in March, we discussed a lawsuit by the family of a 16-year-old boy who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was born. The family alleged that that the doctor was preoccupied during the birth and his judgment was compromised, which led to the injuries the boy suffered. The 16-year-old boy has the intellectual capacity of a two-year-old and will sadly require lifelong care.
According to a Florida news report, the doctor testified that his use of a vacuum pump was reasonable and common. He explained that the decision was made with the best interest of both the patient and baby. The doctor alleges that he discussed the purpose and risk of using a pump with the mother before he ever used it. He explained that the use of the pump is for when the mother cannot finish the delivery because of an impaired ability to continue pushing.
The mother claims that this assertion is a fabrication and that she was
unaware of the risks of using the pump. And furthermore, she emphasized
that she was not too tired to push, but the doctor kept insisting that she was.
The defendant called an expert witness to testify that in his opinion he would have implored the mother to continue pushing rather than use the vacuum. However, he went on to say that the doctor did not violate any standards of conduct. Unfortunately, these sorts of decisions are judgment calls. This is the third time the case has been tried. In the first instance, there was a mistrial, and in the second trial there was attorney misconduct.
Importance of Expert Witnesses in Birth Injury Cases
As the above case exhibits, expert witnesses in medical malpractice and birth injury cases are often necessary and crucial. Expert witnesses are often needed to testify to standard practices of care and the determination of damages. They are an important part of a trial and are often heavily relied upon by the trier of fact.
Expert witnesses introduce evidence in cases where the subject matter is technical, scientific, or requires some sort of specific knowledge that a layperson may not know about. The court will generally allow an expert witness if it will assist the judge or jury in understanding evidence or determining facts. To allow an expert to testify, the judge must determine:
- Whether the witness is qualified;
- How appropriate expert testimony is in the particular case; and
- Whether there is enough factual basis to support the testimony.
An attorney can assist you in determining what type of expert your case requires and how to go about obtaining one who can testify on your behalf.
Do You Have a Child Who Was Born With a Birth Injury?
If you have given birth to a child whom you believe was born with a preventable birth injury, you may consider bringing a medical malpractice suit against the medical professional whom you believe negligently provided you care. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries your child has suffered. This includes past and future medical bills and other damages related to the injuries your child has suffered. Contact an attorney at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt at (410) 567-0800 to schedule a free initial consultation.