Image Source: KOMO News
Sharla Tavares had a high risk pregnancy. She was suffering from placental abruption, a dangerous condition in which the placenta, an organ that nourishes a growing fetus, peels away from the inner wall of the uterus. When a placenta is not fully attached to the uterus, it can cause life-threatening bleeding in the pregnant woman and starve her fetus of oxygen and nutrients.
When Sharla went into labor, she went to Evergreen Hospital to give birth. The nurses on duty at the time did not inform the obstetrician that Sharla had placental abruption. When the obstetrician left the hospital for a break, believing that her patient was safe, Sharla’s baby went into distress. The nurses took too long to call the obstetrician, and they did not inform her of the severity of the problem or prep her for surgery.
Negligence leads to a birth injury
Because Sharla’s baby, named Miriam, had been deprived of oxygen for so long that she was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that can cause profound disabilities and difficulties with speaking, walking, and moving. Although Evergreen Hospital tried to argue that Miriam’s condition was inevitable before she arrived at the hospital, they were ordered to pay $4.2 million dollars in damages.
Accidents in the delivery room can last a lifetime
Years after her birth injury, Miriam Tavares is a vibrant child, but she suffers from incurable brain injuries and cerebral palsy. She cannot talk, walk, or eat. Her conditions will require lifelong care to manage, and she may struggle as an adult to hold a job or earn any income at all. Doctors believe that she has a shortened life expectancy as a result of the birth injury.
Although the damages often sound high in news reports about birth injury cases, they’re necessary to provide disabled children with care. The average fee for an at-home caregiver is $18 per hour, and a certified nursing assistant or nursing aid is more expensive. A stay in an assisted-living care home averages $42,000 per year, and a private room in a nursing home costs on average more than $87,000 per year. Parents can also lose wages and earning potential while caring for disabled children and adults who cannot be left alone during working hours.