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Military Hospital Malpractice Claim Settles for $6.5M Over Brain Injury at Birth

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $6.5 million in damages to the family of a severely brain-damaged child, resolving a claim that alleged medical malpractice during birth at a military hospital in Texas left their son with cerebral palsy.  

The settlement was announced earlier this month between Kasie and Higinio Rivera and the U.S. government, over a birth injury allegedly suffered by their child, Haiden, at Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Texas.

According to a press release issued by the family’s attorneys at Janet, Jenner & Suggs, the family alleged that Haiden was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of medical malpractice at the military hospital. During Haiden’s birth on September 12, 2008, the child suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

The hospital staff allegedly caused Kasie Rivera to suffer overstimulated contractions, due to excessive use of oxytocin. The parents claim that nurses kept turning the oxytocin off, because they detected a decelerated heart rate in her unborn son. However, doctors kept turning it back on. The lawsuit claimed that treatment should have been stopped and the baby delivered by C-section when fetal monitoring showed the baby was in distress.

Three days after his birth, the boy was airlifted to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He spent more than a week hospitalized there. Later tests showed that Haiden suffered severe brain damage as a result of the oxygen deprivation, as well as other physical injuries. Now 5 years old, the child is nonverbal, cannot walk and must be fed through a feeding tube.

Cerebral palsy is often caused by a brain injury that occurs before, during or shortly after birth. If the brain of a baby is deprived of oxygen, it can result in irreversible damage that leaves the child with developmental problems, loss of motor functions and other life-long injuries and disabilities.

Although cerebral palsy can occur without a medical mistake, when the exercise of the proper standards of medical care could have prevented the child’s brain from being deprived of oxygen, medical malpractice lawsuits over cerebral palsy are often filed to obtain compensation for the child, with large damage awards commonly provided given the substantial life-time medical expenses that are incurred by the family.

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