Most women expect their birth experience to be well handled, especially when they have shopped around for a birth center or hospital that will meet their needs. While there is no guarantee that everything will go according to plan, they certainly don’t expect to be physically restrained by the nursing staff.
One woman who had a horrendous birth experience opted to seek compensation, which is something that all women who have birth injuries can do. The jury in her case recently awarded her $16 million.
The trial lasted for two weeks and the jury ended up deliberating for 10 hours. In the end, they awarded the woman $5 million for punitive damages, $10 million for a pudendal neuralgia nerve injury she suffered during labor and delivery, and $1 million for loss of consortium to her husband.
The largest portion of the award was for the birth injury she suffered. This injury was caused by the nursing staff at the hospital pushing on her baby to keep him in the birth canal until the doctor could make it to the delivery. On top of that, the woman was physically and forcibly restrained by nurses. The hospital tried to blame the woman for her injuries, but the jury didn’t buy that story.
The punitive damages in the case come from the jury’s conclusion that the facility was reckless in their marketing campaign. That campaign included claims that the facility followed a woman’s wishes and that it supported natural births and birthing tubs.
This mother has to deal with debilitating pain that causes her to need to take frequent soaks, as well as nerve blocks. While the award might seem large, the birth injury did cause her to have to make significant life changes, and she was compensated for that.
Source: AL.com, “Jury awards Mountain Brook couple $16 million in case against Brookwood Medical Center,” Kent Faulk, Aug. 06, 2016