On June 10, 2014, an Ohio jury awarded $14.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit to a Stephanie Stewart and her 11-year-old son, Alijah Jones, who suffered a brain hemorrhage after a delayed delivery. Alijah now suffers from cerebral palsy, visual impairments and cognitive delays, among other health issues.
Ms. Stewart filed a lawsuit against MetroHealth Medical Center and Dr. Steven Weight in 2004 after giving birth to her son. According to the lawsuit, Stewart went into labor three separate times in 2003, between March 20th and April 4th. Each time, the labor was stopped with medication and bed rest before Stewart was discharged from the hospital.
The details of the birth are as follows:
- On April 10, Stewart was admitted to the hospital at 12:30 p.m. after her water broke.
- Stewart and her physician had previously agreed that she should deliver by Caesarean section, and though she requested to deliver her baby soon after being admitted, the attending obstetrician, Dr. Weight, stated at 5:30 p.m. that the baby appeared to be healthy and delivery wasn't yet necessary.
- After the baby began to show signs of distress, an emergency C-section was performed at 9 p.m.
Alijah suffered a brain hemorrhage, which is believed to have happened after 5:30 p.m., when Weight refused to allow Stewart to deliver. The Cuyahoga County jury determined that Weight's actions constituted medical negligence since Stewart was never told that her baby was at risk of a brain hemorrhage if fetal distress were to occur, her request for a Caesarean was initially denied, and she was not given any options before the emergency operation took place. Stewart was awarded $8 million for the cost of medical care, $5 million for Alijah's pain and suffering, $1 million to cover medical costs and $500,000 for previous economic losses.
Negligent physicians and the hospitals in which they practice can be held legally and financially responsible when their mistakes during childbirth result in serious complications. To learn about taking legal action in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, contact a birth injury attorney at Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices.