The Republic reported this week on a settlement reached in a brain injury case, where a couple alleged the injury to their new child was caused by negligence on the part of their midwives. The family had hired the two women to lead the birth of their child, and they actually had the delivery outside of the hospital with the two midwives (a mother and daughter) in charge. Unfortunately, the couple did not receive the care to which they believe they were entitled.
The family explained that problems developed during the birth almost four years ago. The child was born without oxygen. This caused the child to suffer a serious brain injury. Unfortunately, the midwives did not act quickly in responding to the emergency situation. Apparently they delayed in allowing emergency responders access to the mother and child. As a result of these errors the new child suffered permanent brain damage and will likely be forced to live with the consequences of the injury for the rest of her life.
Like many families in similar situations, the couple shared their story with a brain injury lawyer. Eventually a negligence suit was filed seeking to hold the midwives accountable for the harm caused to the child. The case recently settled outside of court for $5 million. The midwives explained that they wanted to avoid the need to go through the costly, expensive jury trial process.
While this may seem like a good agreement for the involved family, each Illinois brain injury lawyer at our firm appreciates that the family us unlikely to receive the actual money awarded in the settlement. That is because the midwives did not carry malpractice insurance to protect their clients who are injured by preventable errors. Instead, the defendants in the case will likely be filing for bankruptcy. That means that the family may only receive a fraction of the award, and to even get that small amount they will likely have to fight through the time-consuming bankruptcy process. It involves trying to get even a share of the defendant’s assets while waiting in line with the defendant’s other creditors.
It seems that this particular mother-daughter midwife team had their share of troubles in the past. Last month they officially lost their license to practice midwifery. The license revocation was the result of a string of suspicious deaths of children during deliveries at the women’s clinic. In one case a student midwife mistakenly cut a child’s umbilical cord, leading to the death of the child. In another case, a child was born limp and with a severely low heart rate. Yet, instead of immediately calling emergency personnel, the midwife delayed. Even when emergency crews arrived the midwife was apparently uncooperative, which hampered the medical team’s ability to provide potentially life-saving care.
Unfortunately, there remain some individual midwives who do not engage in appropriate caregiving for families that rely on them. When this happens, preventable birth injuries often result of which brain injuries are a large part. Considering the seriousness of this possibility, it is important for local families to seek out midwives who have malpractice insurance to provide redress in cases where costly mistakes are made.
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