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If you have a child with cerebral palsy and live in Portland, Oregon, chances are you are familiar with the city’s reputation for providing quality resources and care to children with disabilities. But, are you familiar with your rights if your child’s injuries were caused by medical negligence?
Medical negligence before, during, and after birth, can lead to lifelong consequences for victims. Fortunately, birth injuries caused by medical negligence doesn’t always lead to a child developing cerebral palsy. Still, if it does, parents should not have to pay for the overwhelming medical expenses alone.
Doctors are expected to follow reasonable standards of care. For instance, if a doctor fails to schedule an emergency C-section when necessary, such as when fetal distress is determined, that would not be considered a reasonable and expected standard of care. Such mistakes could lead to infant brain damage, cerebral palsy, and a multitude of other medical issues.
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A similar case occurred in a Portland-area hospital in 2005 when three physicians were accused of failing to provide the standards of care required of them when a woman went through prolonged labor.
Delayed C-Section Lawsuit Leads to Successful Settlement for Boy with Cerebral Palsy
In 2015, the parents of Maverick Ramseyer sued Silverton Hospital after claiming physicians failed to schedule and carry out a C-section in time. Maverick’s mother, Elizabeth, said she chose the hospital, around an hour away from Portland, because it was homey and “quaint,” according to USA Today.
“I liked how quaint the birthing center was,” Elizabeth said. “I heard they send you home with lasagna and give you back massages. They made it sound like a spa.” 
Years before the cerebral palsy lawsuit, in December 2007, Elizabeth made her way to the hospital. After she was admitted, physicians administered labor-inducing drugs, as she was going on two weeks past her due date. Yet, for around 11 hours after, nothing happened, and the medical staff continued to administer the medication.
At some point, the medical staff asked Elizabeth to start pushing, but the little boy’s head wasn’t appropriately positioned in the mom’s cervix. This caused Maverick’s heart rate to drop for at least six minutes. Ultimately, the physician ordered an emergency C-section, but by that time, the baby was already in distress.
When Maverick was born, he had fecal matter in his lungs and nostrils. Unable to breathe, the physician placed an oxygen bag and face mask on Maverick before attempting to clear his airways.
“He was white as paper, and there was no sign of life at all,” Maverick’s father, Derrick, recalled. “I knew instantly things were bad.”
Further, one of the physicians took out Maverick’s endotracheal tube for around 45 minutes, prompting an emergency call to the Oregon Health & Science University Hospital’s mobile team (OSHU). The OSHU team ultimately stabilized the infant, then transported him to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
Due to the medical mistakes made at Silverton Hospital, 20 percent of Maverick’s frontal lobe had been damaged. He was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Through an experienced Portland cerebral palsy attorney, the family was able to negotiate with the hospital and on the undisclosed amount, after the lawyer found mistake after mistake that the Silverton physicians made.
Retired Portland obstetrician, Dr. James Cross, offered his expertise during an interview with USA Today. Although he was not involved in the medical decisions made for Maverick and had nothing to do with the case, Cross noticed a lack of communication that perhaps played a part in the medical negligence.
“I think it would be imperative for the OB/GYN to have communicated with a nurse to inform them perhaps that there’s meconium, and they should at least clear the back of the throat before further resuscitation.”
Cross also added that he thought it was important for others to understand that patients shouldn’t choose hospitals for comfort and luxury, but more so for safety and quality care.
I think that the parents are correct in bringing something like this to attention in that they chose a hospital, not because of medical safety but for other creature comforts. And when it comes to obstetrics, that’s a very poor way of choosing where you go.”
A Portland Cerebral Palsy Attorney Can Help You
There are numerous ways medical negligence leads to birth injuries. In addition to failure to perform an emergency C-section in time, other reasons include
- Failure to detect, diagnose, and treat maternal and fetal infections.
- Failure to detect, diagnose, and treat umbilical cord problems or placenta issues
- Improper use of birth-assisting tools
- Administering the wrong type of medication
- Failure to recognize fetal distress in time
- Mishandling the baby
If you think your child’s disorder was caused by medical negligence, an experienced Portland cerebral palsy lawyer can assist you. No parent should have to go through the experience of medical negligence, and they certainly shouldn’t be expected to pay the steep medical expenses alone when someone else caused their child’s injuries.
Medical Help and Resources in Portland
Shriners Hospital for Children- Portland
3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Portland, OR 97239
Contact for the location nearest you: 503-346-0640
United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon
305 NE 102nd Ave. Ste. 100
Portland, OR 97220
- Dubois, S. (2015, January 15). Oregon parents seek $36 million in water-birth lawsuit. USA TODAY.
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