Judge Awards $9.6 Million Compensation for Medical Malpractice at Birth

A judge has awarded a 3-year-old Californian girl $9.6 million compensation for medical malpractice at birth against the doctor who delivered her.

At 11:00pm on 29th April 2012, the unnamed girl´s mother was admitted to the Banner-Lassen Hospital in Susanville, California, in the advanced stages of labor. At the time of her admission she was dilated 4cm. By 2:00am the following morning, she had dilated to 9cm, but never progressed to 10cm.

From 2:00am, the fetal heart rate went from normal to variable, before showing more significant drops. At 3:45am, the mother´s consultant – Dr. Paul Davainis – told her to start pushing even though she was not fully dilated. At 5:00am, after more than an hour of pushing, Dr. Davainis ordered a C-section. A surgeon arrived at 5:15am, by which time the fetal heart rate was undetectable.

The baby girl was finally delivered at 5:28am with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She was limp and blue, and needed to be resuscitated and intubated. She was then transferred to the UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento suffering from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy caused by a lack of oxygen.

As a result of the delayed C-section, the little girl cannot walk, talk or care for herself. She is blind, suffers occasional seizures and is fed by a tube into her stomach. She will need full-time care for the rest of live – which is only likely to be until she reaches her mid-20s.

On the little girl´s behalf, her mother claimed compensation for medical malpractice at birth – alleging that Dr. Davainis had been negligent by waiting too long to perform a C-section despite evidence of fetal distress. On 28th October, Judge John Mendez at the Sacramento Federal Court found in her favor, and last week announced the settlement of compensation for medical malpractice at birth.

The judge awarded the girl a total of $9.6 million compensation for medical malpractice at birth to account for her pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of income. The bulk of the compensation settlement will be used to pay for her ongoing care. The girl´s mother was also awarded $250,000 compensation for medical malpractice at birth to account for the emotional trauma she experienced during the delivery of her daughter.