The parents of a newborn boy who was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes after a botched water birth have been awarded $13 million.
Amy Benton and Matthew Marino’s newborn baby boy was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes after a botched water birth attempt. They have settled their lawsuit against Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for $13 million.
The settlement is the largest in at least a decade for a hospital birth malpractice case, according to court papers filed by Rich Rogers, the Portland attorney who represented the family, reports Oregon Live.
Now 4, Luca Marino can’t walk or talk, but he’s able to scoot around in a cart with wheels.
The boy has been diagnosed with birth-induced cerebral palsy, according to the family’s lawsuit.
“He makes cooing sounds,” the lawyer said. “He smiles brightly. He loves attention. If you walk into the room and you say ‘Hey, Luca!’ He smiles.”
The boy’s parents had gone to the hospital in December 2011, planning to give birth underwater, according to the lawsuit.
“They told (her) she was an ideal candidate for water birth,” Rogers said in an interview. “And they actually told her that it’s just as safe and even more safe.”
But Ms Benton wasn’t a good candidate because her pregnancy wasn’t considered low risk and Luca’s fetal heart rate was abnormal after Benton was admitted to Legacy Emanuel, Rogers said.
Because Ms Benton was in a tub of water, midwives didn’t continuously monitor the baby’s fetal heart rate, he said. If they had, they would have realised sooner that there was a problem with his heart rate and the birth needed to happen immediately, he said.
Ms Benton eventually was taken out of the tub and Luca was delivered vaginally, but the damage was done: Luca’s brain had long been deprived of oxygen and blood, Rogers said. The lawsuit faults Legacy for failing to perform an immediate C-section.
“The baby they pulled out appeared for all intents and purposes, dead,” Rogers said.
The lawsuit claims that Luca’s parents were told that midwives would consult obstetricians during the water birth, but that didn’t happen.
The lawyer was paid $4.33 million in attorneys fees for his work, according to court papers. After that and experts, court costs and medical bills were paid, Luca received about $6.8 million of the original $13 million settlement.
BabyCenter share a great article on the pros and cons of water birth if you are considering one yourself.
See our piece on Amazing water birth video and images HERE.
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