A recent medical malpractice lawsuit filed in the United States underscores the severe, life-changing injuries that can accompany a serious medical error. Although the allegations contained in the lawsuit have not been proven in court, and although US law differs significantly from Canadian law on these matters, the effect of serious medical injuries are universal. The symptoms described in this lawsuit will be recognizable to any Canadian birthing injury lawyer.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Nicole Kilpatrick and her son, are suing George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C., for negligence during childbirth. The claim alleges that, as a result of this negligence, the child suffered “severe, permanent, and irreversible brain injury.”

“He will not grow to enjoy a normal childhood, adolescence or adulthood, will not take place as a normal, productive member of society and has sustained neurocognitive and neuromuscular deficits,” the claim states.

The event in question took place more than ten years ago, in December 2008. Kilpatrick went into labour at George Washington Hospital at 39 weeks pregnant. The claim states that the child’s heart rate fell to as low as 30 beats per minute, and then jumped to above average levels. It also states that Kilpatrick’s cervix ‘failed to open for nearly two hours before she attempted to give birth,’ according to the GW Hatchet. These issues were allegedly noted by the attending doctors.

The plaintiff and her birthing injury lawyer believe that, under the United States’ national care standards, the attending doctors were mandated to perform a caesarean section. The care team decided against that procedure, and the child suffered prolonged oxygen deprivation in the womb, resulting in brain damage.

“Had the defendants complied with the national standard of care, a caesarean section would have been conducted in a timely manner, and the Infant Plaintiff would have been born without having sustained any brain damage whatsoever,” the claim reads. It further alleges that the child has endured “physical pain, emotional anguish, fear, embarrassment and humiliation” in addition to his immediate injuries.

In Ontario, birthing injury plaintiffs generally have two years from the time the child turns 18 to file a lawsuit. However, if the disability is severe enough, the limitation period may not begin running until a Litigation Guardian is appointed. If your child or the child of a family member suffered a brain injury at birth, no matter how long ago, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your legal options with an experienced birthing injury lawyer.


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Greg Neinstein