When a Washington state hospital failed to recognize fetal distress, it led to a life-altering birth injury for a family’s infant. After hearing seven weeks of testimony in the case, a jury has agreed that it was the hospital’s negligence that resulted in the girl’s brain damage. They awarded the family $23.9 million.
The birth injury lawsuit was filed by Anna Scott and Zachery Burke, whose daughter Lana was born in early 2014. Upon delivery, staff found that the child’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, choking off her oxygen supply and leading to severe brain damage. Experts say that the doctors and nurses at Jefferson Healthcare Hospital made mistakes in interpreting the electronic heartbeat monitoring meant to prevent the tragic outcome.
Birth Injury Called Grossly Negligent
A family representative called the birth injury Lana suffered a result of gross negligence, and the jury agreed. Though a fetal heart monitor was being used during the mother’s labor, the staff did not realize that it was reporting the mother’s heartbeat rather than the infants. This went on for a minimum of three hours, leading to severe injury. Had the staff realized that they were monitoring the wrong heartbeat they would have known that Lana was in distress and could have performed a cesarean section.
The birth injury resulted in Lana, who is now six years old, being unable to dress herself or feed herself. She is expected to be impacted by speech and language deficits and permanent cognitive impairment. In response to testimony, the jury awarded her $10 million in necessary non-medical expenses, $6.25 million for non-economic damages, $2 million for medical care, treatment and services, and over $1 million for lost earnings and earnings capacity. Her parents each were awarded $2.3 million.