Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

The cost of birth injuries affects everyone

After a mother had just gone into labor, hospital staff attempted to administer the drug Pitocin to increase the number of contractions, but doctors failed to monitor the child's vital signs for a number of hours after that. In the meantime, the child's heart rate dropped and the child was reportedly deprived of oxygen to the brain and suffered a variety of birth injuries.

Problems were compounded when doctors chose not to administer a cesarean section and instead tried to force the child through the birth canal. All of the extracurricular activity caused the child's heart rate to vary greatly during the entire process, and the child also was subsequently born with a fractured skull.

The child is now permanently disabled, and has marked deficiencies in walking and speaking. The mother eventually was awarded $5.3 million as a result of the purported medical malpractice. At least half of this award will go towards the child's medical care.

This was just one of several medical malpractice awards brought in one particular locality - a locality where taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for the mistakes of medical providers. And though hospitals often blame attorneys representing the plaintiffs and the court system for the costs of such lawsuits, it's difficult to know what such facilities expect to occur in the light of such malpractice.

One hospital spokesperson did at least appear to recognize the extent of the problem. "When an injury occurs, there is no doubt it is devastating to the patient and their family."

Such medical malpractice does occur in Pittsburgh as well, and the expense of such malpractice affects everyone - whether tax payers are or are not on the hook. Children, as the one mentioned above, will require extremely expensive care due to the medical mistakes of providers.

Source: New York Daily News, "Medical malpractice lawsuits have cost city $134 million this year and range from babies crushed to crucial misdiagnosis," by Reuven Blau, August 27, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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