The Kendrick family’s legal battle began in 2014 when Brody was born with a brain injury and later diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Brody will live with severe disabilities and need care for the rest of his life. His family took the hospital to court and won $34 million for his ongoing care.
Hypoxic Brain Injury Leads to Disabilities
Katie Kendrick arrived at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, in 2014 to deliver her baby. She had a normal, healthy pregnancy up to that point and did not anticipate complications. She was scheduled for an induction of labor.
As soon as Brody was born, Katie felt like something was wrong. He did not move much and had limp muscles. He cried a lot and wouldn’t feed or suck. Her instincts told her to be concerned, and she raised those concerns with the staff more than once. They repeatedly told her that everything was fine with her baby.
Ultimately, she was right. The staff gave Kendrick increasing amounts of Pitocin, the drug used to induce labor. The excessive contractions it caused led to little Brody’s brain injury and current disabilities.
How Pitocin Causes Brain Damage
Pitocin can be useful for inducing labor, but it can also cause harm if used inappropriately. It is a synthetic form of the natural hormone oxytocin. It can induce contractions and also strengthen them to further labor.
When using Pitocin, hospital staff must maintain safe levels. They are also supposed to use fetal monitoring and keep an eye on the strength of contractions.
In Katie’s case, she was given too much. Her contractions became frequent and much too strong. When this happens, the baby struggles to maintain a normal heart rate. Under these conditions, the baby can suffer from low oxygen levels, resulting in hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen. Too little oxygen in the brain for a period of time can cause brain damage.
Jury Award Will Support Child’s Care
Brody’s lack of oxygen did lead to brain damage, which in turn caused significant disabilities. The hospital staff should have monitored the fetus, contractions, and Pitocin doses more closely.
In addition to the inappropriate use of Pitocin, the staff at the hospital failed to take Katie’s concerns seriously. If they had evaluated Brody immediately and recognized the potential damage from the Pitocin, they could have taken steps to minimize harm.
Because of these errors, Brody will now live with cerebral palsy for life. He has a severe type known as quadriplegia, meaning he has paralysis in both legs, arms, and the trunk. He needs lifelong care.
His parents, with the help of lawyers, filed a lawsuit against the hospital. The jury agreed the staff was negligent and awarded the family $34 million for Brody’s care. The money went into a special fund that will cover his costs as he ages.
If your child suffered injuries at birth and you aren’t sure what to do next, contact a birth injury or cerebral palsy lawyer. They can help you find evidence, make a case, and get a settlement or verdict.