Birth Injury Blog

Did Your Doctor Fail To Detect A Complication in Time?

Posted By Beam & Raymond || 14-Aug-2017


When many people think of medical malpractice and patient injuries, they tend to think of physicians who cause direct injuries to the individuals they treat. These may include medication errors involving the wrong drug being given to a patient, or surgical errors in which instruments are left behind or nearby organs are damaged. While these are certainly examples of medical malpractice, they are not the only ones. Medical malpractice can also occur when patients suffer preventable harm due to a medical professional’s failure to identify recognizable complications in a timely manner.

As nationally regarded birth injury lawyers, our legal team at Beam & Raymond has handled many cases of preventable injuries that resulted from failures to detect complications. Failures to identify potential complications may lead to several situations that increase risks of preventable injuries:

  • Failures to treat patients or perform critical procedures
  • Performing treatment or administering medications that cause further harm
  • Treatment and procedures that are ultimately performed too late to prevent injuries

Common examples failures to timely detect a complication, which can lead to preventable birth injuries, include:

  • Failure to detect fetal distress / monitor fetal heart rate monitor
  • Failure to detect placental abnormalities, including placental abruption
  • Failure to detect umbilical cord problems, including a nuchal cord
  • Failure to diagnose a pregnancy-related medical condition, including gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia
  • Failure to detect uterine rupture
  • Failure to detect oxygen deprivation
  • Failure to identify symptoms or complications in newborns
  • Failures to detect distressed labor and perform a timely C-section
  • Failure to identify high risk factors and take appropriate measures or appropriately monitor patients

When handling these cases, proving negligence and liability centers on showing that a medical professional failed to identify a complication or issue they could and should have detected. Establishing this failure typically involves showing how a medical provider’s care in that particular situation did not meet accepted medical standards. Did a nurse confuse the mother’s heart rate for the baby’s heart rate? Did physicians not notice tell-tale signs of distress or a serious condition? These are the types of questions we ask. We also work with medical experts who can help further illustrate that a reasonably skillful medical provider would have correctly and promptly identified a complication that went undetected in the case at hand.

Our record of success includes many verdicts and settlements that involved failures to detect complications during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Here are a few representative cases:

  • $144.5 million verdict (one of the highest birth injury verdicts in U.S. history) in a case where medical staff committed several acts of negligence, including failure to detect high risk factors during pregnancy. Medical staff erroneously estimated that the baby would be 7 pounds, when it was actually close to 11 pounds.
  • $15 million settlement in a Cook County, Illinois case where the defendant's hospital failed to recognize the warning signs of fetal distress during a two day induction of a young mother. Due to the hospital’s overuse of Pitocin during the labor and delivery and their failure to perform a cesarean section, excessive contractions stopped oxygen delivery and blood flow to the baby’s brain. The hospital’s negligence caused severe brain damage to the child, who cannot walk, talk or care for herself.
  • $11 million settlement for a child who suffered brain damage and cerebral palsy after medical staff failed to detect significant fetal distress. It was discovered that nurses and physicians confused the mother’s heart rate for the baby’s heart rate.
  • $10 million settlement in an Ohio case where physicians and the hospital failed to detect placental insufficiency and failed to deliver the baby prior to brain injury.
  • $6.875 million settlement in Wayne County, Michigan for a child who suffered brain damage after medical staff failed to perform an emergency C-section hours earlier when they should have detected fetal distress. As a result of the lack of oxygen to the brain, the baby has been diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, seizures, microcephaly and global developmental delays which will require around the clock care for the rest of the baby’s life.

If you believe a medical professional’s failure to detect or address a complication led to preventable birth injuries to you or your child, our legal team is readily available to discuss your case during a free and confidential evaluation. Contact us to speak with an attorney from Beam & Raymond.

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