Successfully Proving Medical Malpractice in Traumatic Birth Injury
AylwardLaw represented an infant who suffered a severe birth injury birth in a difficult medical malpractice claim.
The baby's shoulder became stuck under the mother's pelvic bone. This medical emergency is known as shoulder dystocia. The exchange of oxygen from mother to child and carbon dioxide from child to mother was cut-off for 17 minutes.
The defendant doctor acknowledged that the child had suffered hypoxic-ischemia. He stated the birth was compromised by cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD): the baby's head, relative to the mother's pelvis, was too large. The CPD prevented a normal delivery. The chart notes and the discharge summaries for the mother and infant were written by the doctor. Geoff engaged three expert physicians to provide screening opinions on whether a claim was viable. After a review of the records, and consideration of each others' opinion, the doctor's advice was that there no obvious path to a successful result.
The infant's only chance was the discovery examination of the defendant. Geoff's skilled cross-examination of the physician succeeded. Medical expert witnesses relied on the groundwork laid by Geoff and provided unanswerable reports. It was proven that errors by the doctor at delivery caused the infant to suffer brain injury resulting in profound cerebral palsy.
The claim settled for over $6,500,000. The settlement was the second-highest in Atlantic Canada for a birth injury claim. (The highest involved a child who required 24-hour awake care.) AylwardLaw's fee to the family, at 25 percent, was the lowest known fee in Atlantic Canada for a birth trauma case. AylwardLaw successfully applied to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador for the appointment of the parents as guardians of the settlement. Read more.
Practice area(s): Medical Malpractice, Guardianship