In a recent medical malpractice case in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, a judge has opened the court to a $19.5 million settlement. A mother received “reckless” and negligent care prior to giving birth to her son, which allegedly caused him to be born with severe brain injuries. Known as hypoxic brain injury, the newborn will be dependant on a feeding tube, and will be unable to walk, crawl or stand on his own. The case was reviewed, and ultimately, the doctors who were approached by the mother nineteen days prior to her giving birth did not act in a way that put her best interest in mind. She entered the ob-gyn office with complaints of dizziness, severe back aches and nausea, hypertension and she believed there was a possibility of decreased fetal movement. None of these complaints should be taken lightly when a woman is so close to labor. The doctors orders were to take Tylenol, use Bengay and eat bland food. Very minimal suggestestions in comparison to her ailments. The proper course of action should have been a biophysical profile, an in-depth ultrasound or to refer her to a specialist. The lack of care or concern by her doctors has put her in a position of having a son with potentially lifelong disabilities.
The defendants of the case, various Lackawanna healthcare professionals, urged the judge to seal the case. They claimed the case would bring embarrassment to the healthcare community, as well as put themselves in danger of people suing for large settlements in the future, knowing that it can be done. The judge brushed off their opinions, claiming that the community has a right to know and it may even benefit their own healthcare decisions. He also urged the defendants that the community has no personal interest in the amount of the settlement.
Whether the judge is right or not about monetary value playing a role in the public’s interest, the community of Lackawanna has the right to know what is going on in the healthcare and medical professional world of their county. The mother, who now has a great responsibility to her son and her own health, has every right to share her story. We believe that when a doctor or physician or healthcare provider does not follow proper care, they should have seen the consequences coming. It is their duty to serve their community to the best of their ability. People put unquestioned trust into doctors and other community service members. The public absolutely has the right to know what standard and quality of care they are going to receive next time they visit their provider.
If you have questions about a current medical malpractice case, Buckingham-Barrera is here to help. We fight alongside families who are seeking justice. We will do everything we can to win your case for a most favorable outcome. Call today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.