Alizabeth and Elvin Hana were devastated when their daughter was born with a brain injury in 2004. The birth injury was caused by severe oxygen deprivation, and the prognosis was not good. According to the Chicago Tribune, their daughter lived only three years because of the severe brain injury caused by the doctors at Rush North Shore Hospital.
The Hanas went through years of painful litigation that constantly reminded them of the daughter they lost. Finally, on November 10, a jury found that Ismie Mutual Insurance had acted in bad faith by withholding information from the obstetricians and concealing a settlement offer. While the legal battle is over, the Hanas live on with the pain on losing a child because of their doctor’s negligence.
Birth injuries by the numbers
Unfortunately, the Hanas are not alone. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the US Department of Health & Human Services, compiled information about birth injuries to both mother and child from hospitals across the nation. The numbers are shocking:
- Nearly 157,700 potentially avoidable injuries to mothers and newborns occurred during childbirth in 2006 (the last year for which data is available), and obstetrical traumas occurring during vaginal births with instruments accounted for the highest injury rates.
- Newborns covered by Medicaid had worse (i.e., higher) newborn injury rates than newborns covered by private insurance, though there appeared to be no differences in the rates of newborn injury between the wealthiest and poorest communities.
- For all delivery types, rates of obstetrical trauma for mothers were highest among women living in the wealthiest communities, and women with private insurance had higher obstetrical trauma rates than those with Medicaid.
- Injury to the newborn occurred most often in those living in non-urban areas, while rates of obstetrical trauma for mothers were highest among women in large metropolitan areas. Although, the Northeast had one of the highest rates of obstetrical trauma with instrument assistance, it also had significantly worse rates of injury to the newborn.
As we can see, injuries during childbirth are more common than we think. Unfortunately, most birth injuries have consequences that last a lifetime. When a doctor makes a mistake during childbirth, you and your family can find your lives changed forever.
Birth injuries may not be evident for months. If you suspect that your child suffered a birth injury, contact the experienced Ohio and Kentucky birth injury lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law for a free case evaluation. We look out for our clients’ best interests and can help you through a difficult and emotional time.