The birth of a child is a momentous occasion for most New Jersey parents, and the day on which they are born is often one of the most joyous days of their lives. Sadly, that does not appear to be the case for an Army mother and her Air Force veteran husband. They claim that egregious errors during labor led to brain damage in their daughter, and they have been fighting for some type of legal recourse ever since.
The girl's birth was a planned Cesarean section, an otherwise routine procedure that, when necessary, tends to have good outcomes for mothers and their children. However, things went awry before the C-section ever began. Although her medication allergy was specifically noted in the accompanying medical records, medical personnel still administered that medication during her surgery prep. As the mother began to suffer an allergic reaction, attending doctors and nurses gave her an antihistamine. As a result her blood pressure dropped dangerously low, and her child was seriously deprived of oxygen.
Now enduring the added burden of caring for a 6-year-old girl with brain damage and other medical problems that require therapy and braces for walking, the parents have spent years attempting to recover compensation on her behalf. A doctrine intended to protect military personnel and government leaders from being sued for making leadership decisions in war or battle has been continuously cited when denying their claim. Apparently, the mother's injuries suffered during labor are considered to have been suffered as part of her military service, and since her daughter was injured by extension, it includes her too. The father along with several other advocate groups, argue that while the so called Feres doctrine may be essential for protecting those who must make difficult decisions on the battlefield, it should not extend to his daughter's birth.
The brave men and women of New Jersey who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces should not have to worry about the possibility of their child being irreversibly harmed with no chance for possible recourse, and many advocate groups are currently pushing to change how the Feres doctrine is applied. On the civilian side, many parents who seek compensation for brain damage injuries on behalf of their child are successful in doing so. Although a lawsuit can seem overwhelming, a properly litigated medical malpractice claim can help pave the way for an injured child's future.
Source: militarytimes.com, "Military family pushes Supreme Court to consider malpractice claim", Patricia Kime, Dec. 21, 2015