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Doctors, hospital held accountable for little girl's brain injury

A newborn baby's brain is especially fragile, and oxygen deprivation, otherwise known as hypoxia, is unfortunately a common cause of brain damage among infants. Doctors and nurses are supposed to be on alert with regard to potential oxygen deprivation, which can lead to lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Recently, a little girl from New York won a years-long legal battle against two doctors and a hospital. In 2006, after the child was born, her parents noticed that she was having difficulty breathing. Nine days after her birth, the parents contacted the infant's pediatrician about the problem.

The doctor told the parents to take the little girl back to the Bronxville hospital. However, after the family arrived at the emergency room, hours passed before a doctor examined the child. Meanwhile, the infant continued to have trouble breathing.

In the presence of her parents, the infant's body temperature dropped far below normal, and the child reportedly turned blue. Finally, the little girl was seen by a doctor, but two more days passed before anyone at the hospital discovered that the child had a heart defect.

She was taken to another hospital, where she underwent surgery to correct the problem. By then, however, the little girl had suffered brain damage as a result of hypoxia.

In 2008, the parents sued two doctors and the first hospital, and a jury only recently returned an $11.3 million verdict in favor of the now 7-year-old girl.

Medical professionals are duty-bound to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries, and delaying or withholding necessary treatment is a form of neglecting that duty. Our medical malpractice website has more on holding negligent doctors accountable in New Jersey.

Source:, "Girl wins $11 million in suit against hospital, doctors," Jane Lerner, March 10, 2014

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Alan D. Bell
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