• 20
  • September

A jury recently found an Allentown doctor responsible for the permanent injuries to a mother and child. The $4 million verdict is one of the largest in recent years in the Lehigh County Court.

In looking at what happened, it was back in August 2009. An ultrasound four days before a mother went into labor showed she was having a 10 pound baby. Due to the large size of the baby, the mother was worried about delivering vaginally. However, the obstetrician assured her everything was going to be OK. 

The issue of course was that everything was not OK. At one point, her labor stopped progressing for eight hours. Yet, the obstetrician still did not order a cesarean section. Rather, he continued on with the vaginal delivery, at one point using forceps when the mother was too tired to continue to push. 

At one point, the baby's shoulder got stuck on the mother's pelvis. This led to the baby being deprived of oxygen for 3 1/2 minutes. 

After the delivery, the baby had to be resuscitated at the Lehigh Valley Hospital before being transported to the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia in order to cool her brain to minimize the damage caused by the lack of oxygen.

Today, the 4-year-old has cerebral palsy. The mother is also incontinent and unable to work.

In the lawsuit, the claim was the obstetrician ignored signs that the baby should have been delivered via C-section, which could have prevented the complications stemming the flow of oxygen being cut off to the baby. 

A jury ended up finding it was the obstetrician's negligence that led to the permanent birth injuries. The mother and child were awarded the $4 million. 

Source: The Morning Call, "Lehigh County jury awards $4 million in birth injury suit," Peter Hall, Sept. 11, 2013