Two military hospital births in 2002 and 2005 were anything but routine, leaving one child dead and another permanently disabled with cerebral palsy.
When the McCraw family checked into Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, they never imagined that the birth of their daughter Kayla would result in permanent brain damage and disfigurement. According to the complaint, an inexperienced resident under physician supervision botched the delivery, damaging Kayla's brain. Moreover, despite signs of fetal stress, delivery was delayed due to a communications breakdown among hospital staff.
Kayla was eventually delivered with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Staff failed to clamp off the cord, causing her to nearly bleed to death. In an attempt to resuscitate, the resident inserted the oxygen tube into Kayla's stomach rather than her lungs, and the mistake was not discovered until after her brain had been deprived of oxygen for more than 40 minutes.
When a baby is deprived of oxygen at any time during the birthing process, the result can be irreversible brain damage that leaves the child with cerebral palsy. As a result of permanent brain damage, Kayla will never walk, talk, feed herself, or use the bathroom without help.
A settlement was reached in the McCraw's medical malpractice lawsuit. The government had only recently started paying out the $11 million award when another birth injury lawsuit against a U.S. Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, resulted in a $10.2 million award from the court.
In 2005, Oscar Rodriguez and Raiza Bravo won $60.5 million in a birth injury lawsuit against the government after their baby suffered severe brain damage when he was born-like Kayla-with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. The large award was meant to take care of the child for the rest of his life. The government appealed, asking for a reduction of the award.
Before the appeal was heard, the child suffered from a brain seizure and died. The couple re-filed the lawsuit as a wrongful death suit against the hospital and a district court judge recently awarded the couple over $10 million for the hospital's negligence.
Resource: Two Birth Injury Lawsuits Could Cost Government More than $20M