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Millions Awarded to Victim of Preeclampsia, Cerebral Palsy

Grewal Law

Michigan birth injury attorney Leon Walsh discusses a multi-million dollar award for a little girl who has cerebral palsy as a result of a delayed delivery that caused birth asphyxia.

A London hospital finally admitted that if they had delivered a baby sooner, she would not have been brain damaged. The hospital apologized to the family and agreed to a multi-million dollar payment for the little girl, who has cerebral palsy as a result of the brain damage.

The events at issue in this case involve the mother presenting to the hospital with preeclampsia, which is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Hospital staff decided to induce the mother, and one of the drugs she was given was oxytocin. Unfortunately, the staff began labor induction, but then left the mother in the hospital room for 4 days, with her labor not progressing. During this time period, the staff did not properly monitor the baby’s heart rate (fetal heart rate (FHR)), and the staff failed to notice when the baby began experiencing distress. When the staff finally performed an emergency C-section because the baby was experiencing non-reassuring heart tones and – a sign of distress – it was too late. At birth, the newborn was unresponsive and floppy. She had severe asphyxia (oxygen deprivation), which caused brain damage. The little girl was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth.


Many issues can cause prolonged and arrested labor, but these conditions are most often caused by mechanical impediments and / or inadequate uterine activity. Mechanical impediments include malpresentations (such as breech, face, brow, shoulder and asynclitic presentations) as well as cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD). Causes of CPD include an abnormally large baby (a macrosomic baby – which can occur when a mother has gestational diabetes), a baby with an abnormally large head (which can occur when the mother is past the due date), a mother with a clinically small pelvis, and / or malpresentation of the baby.

Inadequate uterine activity refers to uterine activity that is either not sufficiently strong or not appropriately coordinated to dilate the cervix and expel the baby.

Sometimes, the uterine muscle fails to contract properly when it is grossly stretched, which can occur when there is a twin pregnancy, or when the mother has a condition called hydramnios (excess amniotic fluid).

Insufficient contractions are often treated with uterine stimulation. Doctors often administer Cytotec or Pitocin ( oxytocin) to stimulate the uterus. Too much of these drugs can cause uterine hyperstimulation, which can cause oxygen deprivation in the baby; when contractions are too fast and strong, the placenta often cannot recharge with an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood for the baby. As hyperstimulation continues, the baby can get more and more oxygen deprived. Indeed, use of Cytotec or Pitocin requires very close monitoring of the baby’s heart rate, and the baby must be quickly delivered at the first signs of distress.

Too much anesthesia or painkillers can cause inefficient uterine action and may prevent voluntary effort by the mother to deliver the baby during the second stage of labor. Anesthesia can increase the length of the second stage of labor.


Regardless of whether the mother and baby are experiencing any of the above-mentioned risky conditions – or any other risky labor and delivery issue – it is imperative that the baby be promptly delivered when there is fetal distress and fetal heart rate patterns that are concerning. Nonreassuring fetal heart tracings require prompt delivery. Often, an emergency C-section is the safest and fastest way to deliver a baby in distress. Also, if a condition is present that is likely to cause significant distress, the baby may need to be urgently or emergently delivered.


If you think your baby experienced oxygen deprivation, a traumatic birth, delayed delivery, or delayed emergency C-section, or if your baby’s care was mismanaged after birth in the NICU, please contact our team of experienced birth injury attorneys. The medical malpractice team at Grewal Law is comprised of attorneys and healthcare professionals, including an on-site physician, registered nurse, pharmacist, paramedic, and respiratory therapist. We also work with the best consultants and experts from around the country. Our attorneys are licensed in Michigan, Florida and Arizona and we help victims of medical malpractice and birth trauma throughout the country.

If your baby was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), seizures, cerebral palsy, motor disorders, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), hydrocephalus, intellectual disabilities, or developmental delays, or if you experienced problems during delivery or shortly before or after birth, please call us. Our medical malpractice attorneys and medical staff are available to speak with you 24/7.


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