On behalf of Hastings Law Firm posted in Birth Injuries on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.

Just as patients retain the right to appeal what they believe to be unfavorable verdicts in medical malpractice cases, hospitals can also appeal decisions that they believe to be unfair. While this is understandably upsetting to victims in Texas, it is always possible that a court will decide that a previous decision was fair and right. The parents of a boy who suffered devastating birth injuries that led to cerebral palsy recently had their ruling upheld despite a hospital’s appeal.

In 2002, a woman went into premature labor with her son. According to her, the flow of oxygen to her unborn child was either cut off or severely hindered while she was still in labor. However, instead of performing a C-section, she says that the attending health care professionals chose to have her push forward with a vaginal birth. She and her husband believe that their son’s resulting cerebral palsy could have been avoided if the doctors had performed the C-section, and, in 2012, a jury agreed with them. They were initially awarded over $20 million.

During that same time period, many hospitals were promoting the idea of a birth injury fund that would provide compensation for victims. The idea behind it was to avoid litigation, but opponents noted that this type of compensation system could severely limit the amount victims could receive, while also protecting substandard doctors. Although it is not clear why the hospital chose to appeal the result, it is possible that the desire for a birth injury fund could have played a role in the decision.

As the appeal was unsuccessful, the original award — which accounts for the lifetime of care that the child will need — stands. Texas families who have watched their children suffer from birth injuries likely understand how devastating the impact can be and consequently realize the drastic impact that a successful medical malpractice claim can have on the future. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a less-than-desirable outcome, it may be possible to appeal the decision in order to seek fair compensation.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “State’s highest court rejects hospital’s final appeal in birth injury case”, Meredith Cohn, March 19, 2015