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Forceps injury suit ends with $11.5 million jury award

Throughout pregnancy, a mother will visit with her doctor numerous times. At first, the visits are a month or so apart; however, as the due date approaches, these visits become more frequent, usually occurring once a week. The reason these New Jersey mothers spend so much time in the doctor's office is that they want to do their part in making sure that their babies are born healthy. In turn, they trust that the doctors and other medical staff will do their part to ensure a safe delivery and that if forceps are used, a forceps injury will not occur.

In 2010, a baby was born who apparently suffered brain damage during delivery. Information presented indicates that the baby suffered from breathing problems during delivery; however, nothing was done to address these problems. As the baby's condition worsened, the doctor and midwife made the decision to use forceps to aid in the delivery. Unfortunately, the forceps appear to have been applied incorrectly, thus causing a forceps injury resulting in brain damage.

The child's parents filed suit in 2012, and that case has finally been resolved. The jury found that in addition to the incorrect use of the forceps, part of the patient's record had been altered. The jury awarded the parents $11.5 million acknowledging that the child will require on-going care for life.

It is the mother's responsibility to take care of the child that she is carrying. Additionally, it is the doctor's responsibility to take care of the mother and child over the course of the pregnancy and during delivery. If the doctor decides that forceps are necessary, they must be used properly so as to avoid a forceps injury. Families facing a lifetime of caring for a child who suffered brain damage during delivery do have options available to them through New Jersey's legal system.

Source:, "Jury awards $11.5 million to Omaha couple in medical malpractice lawsuit over child's birth", Russell Hubbard, Oct. 28, 2016

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Alan D. Bell
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