We all enjoy the cameras, the balloons, and the joy that comes with a new baby, but childbirth is actually a potentially dangerous event. While the vast majority of pregnancies end without complication, a significant number are associated with potentially life-threatening and life-altering peril.
Conditions such as placental abruption and preeclampsia can pose serious risks to a newborn — and to the mother as well.
When the placenta is compromised, the baby in utero may not receive sufficient oxygen; hypoxia can lead to permanent and devastating brain injury. In such cases, the onus is on the obstetrical personnel to deliver the baby emergently via cesarean section. Time truly is of the instances in these situations. “Twenty minutes from decision to incision” goes the old medical maxim (i.e., there should be no more than twenty minutes between the decision to perform a c-section, and the actual start of the procedure).
Fetal monitoring devices provide obstetrical nurses and doctors with valuable information concerning the well being of the baby. If the strips show decelerations in the baby’s heart rate, they may be telling the doctor to deliver that baby expeditiously. Just as they are invaluable in the labor suite, the monitoring strips are likewise invaluable in the courtroom. In court, those strips are like a real time motion picture, showing the baby’s status at any given moment. They are usually the centerpiece of any medical negligence action.
Slade McLaughlin and Paul Lauricella have represented children whose deliveries were complicated by placental abruption, preeclampsia, herpes, uterine abnormalities, and infections.
They have secured verdicts and multi-million dollar settlements in such cases in Philadelphia, and in presumably hostile venues such as Lehigh County and Northampton County. They have also represented mothers who suffered serious injuries associated with the births of their children.
For instance, in the 1990s, Paul Lauricella represented the estate of the wife of a famed Philadelphia Flyers hockey player who died shortly after delivering her infant son. Paul and Slade understand the medicine, understand the law, and understand the defenses that doctors invoke. They assemble a team of experts, including obstetricians, neonatologists, neurologists, case managers, vocational and rehabilitative experts, and forensic accountants, so that they can (a) establish what went wrong, (2) explain the connection between the medical management and the child’s impairments, and (3) project the costs and other economic implications of the life-long consequences of obstetrical neglect.