Back in 2004, Jeanette Gutierrez noticed that her fetus’s movements had decreased. She was 28 weeks pregnant at the time. After being admitted to the hospital, the baby’s heart rate dropped on the second day. Gutierrez’s doctor, Dr. David Seubert, was on call and informed of the issue. Instead of coming in, Seubert decided to stay at home.
Gutierrez and Luis Gallego — the father — got a legal team together, and alleged that their daughter should have been delivered by C-section immediately. Instead, the C-section was delayed until later that night. By the time the baby was born, it was unresponsive and had experienced severe brain injury from lack of oxygen and blood. By ignoring the ongoing test results that indicated fetal distress, court papers allege that the hospital and doctor knowingly exposed the baby to damaging conditions.
This week, a Massachusetts jury agreed that Seubert was negligent, and subsequently awarded the girl’s family $30 million for their medical malpractice claim. While this amount may seem high, it will be needed to provide care for the girl for the rest of her life. She cannot walk, talk, see, or eat. About $16 million alone is estimated to be necessary for her future care.
The Birth Injury Statistics That Will Shock You
It may seem incredibly unlikely that the average family will encounter this sort of treatment in a hospital. And yet, this happens to varying degrees too often. The Journal of the American Medical Association claims that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. right now.
And if you’re wondering how frequently it impacts pregnant women and babies, the statistics are concerning: OBGYNs were the most common defendants in medical malpractice cases, according to birth injury research from a New England Journal of Medicine study. The majority of plaintiffs were female (60%), and a full 20% of plaintiffs are newborns. Birth injury statistics indicate that 28,000 babies are born with a birth injury every single year.
If you’re wondering what to do when a birth injury occurs, your first step should be to contact medical malpractice lawyers. The case against Seubert took multiple years to resolve — and part of the reason it took so long for the family to receive compensation is that they did not go to court until 2011. If you’ve experienced medical malpractice statistics first hand, don’t wait to contact an attorney — the time is now to seek fair compensation.