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The State of Iowa will pay $3.75 million to settle a baby's brain injury case.
Five years ago, Martha Fountain went to the University of Iowa near the end of a normal full-term pregnancy. She was given the drug Pitocin to help speed up her delivery, the Associated Press reports. Instead, the drug allegedly had the opposite effect, prolonging her labor to 28 hours.
Fountain eventually gave birth to a baby boy, but the boy suffered brain injuries. Fountain blamed the hospital, and sued.
Pitocin is a drug that is frequently given to pregnant women to help with contractions, according to the AP.
In the baby brain-injury lawsuit, Martha Fountain claims the hospital gave her the drug before it determined if her naturally occurring contractions were too frequent or too strong. After receiving the drug, the mother claims her pregnancy was prolonged due to excessive contractions. Her baby suffered head trauma and severe retardation as a result.
Martha Fountain alleged the hospital was negligent or careless in giving her the drugs. For example, the hospital could have checked to see if she really needed the drugs, or warned her of possible negative side effects.
The hospital denied negligence in the malpractice action. Instead, it asserted the baby's brain injuries were caused by other reasons, unrelated to complications during birth. But instead of litigating the case to the end, the hospital decided to settle, paying Fountain $3.75 million.
One possible reason that the hospital settled may be that it did not want to risk a losing verdict in court. Had that happened, the hospital could possibly have been held liable for all baby brain injuries associated with the use of Pitocin at University of Iowa hospitals.
The drug Pitocin is increasingly making news for being associated with birth complications like a baby's brain injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured through the use of the drug, you may want to contact a medical malpractice attorney.