Negligence Case Against Henry Ford Hospital

A jury has awarded $120 million to a boy who suffered severe injuries during birth at a Henry Ford Health System hospital. The jury found the hospital and its staff negligent for failing to perform a timely C-section, resulting in lifelong disabilities for the child.

Key Takeaways

  • Jury awards $120 million to a boy injured during birth at Henry Ford Hospital.
  • Hospital staff delayed a necessary C-section, causing severe asphyxiation and cerebral palsy.
  • The child, now 13, requires lifelong medical and home care.
  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services joined the case due to high medical costs.
  • Henry Ford Health plans to appeal the verdict.

The Incident

In June 2010, the mother of the child arrived at Henry Ford Hospital at term but not in active labor. After being admitted, the fetal monitor indicated “non-reassuring fetal heart tones,” signaling the need for an urgent C-section. However, the procedure was delayed for more than two hours, leading to severe asphyxiation and resulting in cerebral palsy and permanent brain damage for the infant.

Legal Proceedings

The jury’s verdict, delivered on March 28, found Henry Ford Health System and the attending obstetrician and nurses negligent. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services joined the case due to the exorbitant medical costs incurred for the child’s care, who is now 13 years old.

Statements

Plaintiff’s Attorney

“When a fetal monitor indicates ‘Non-reassuring heart tones,’ it is a call to action, and time is of the essence to prevent the kind of injury this child suffered. It is outrageous that there was a more than two-hour delay for something that needs to be performed urgently. This child will need medical and home care for the rest of his life, and while we cannot give him the quality of life he would have had but for this injury, we can only hope to give his additional therapies and services to help him deal with his disabilities and protect from the possibility of an early demise. This injury should have never happened. It was foreseeable and entirely preventable. We hope this verdict serves as a reminder to the obstetrical community that they should act expediently in the presence of non-reassuring fetal monitor patterns.”

Henry Ford Health

“At Henry Ford Health, our patients are family, and we’ve been deeply saddened for the Drake family since the birth of their son more than a decade ago. At the same time, we do not believe the verdict is consistent with the facts of this case and plan to vigorously appeal the jury’s verdict. Given the ongoing nature of the case, we are not able to provide any additional comment at this time.”

Conclusion

The case highlights the critical importance of timely medical interventions during childbirth. While the jury’s decision aims to provide the injured child with the necessary care and support, the hospital’s planned appeal indicates that the legal battle may continue. The outcome serves as a stark reminder to healthcare providers about the severe consequences of delayed medical actions.

Sources

Birth Injury Webpages

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