Preterm Labor Resulting in Cerebral Palsy
The Cole Case
The mother was pregnant with her first baby. When she was 26 weeks into her pregnancy, she started to experience preterm contractions so she and her husband went to the hospital to be evaluated. Although they quickly told the admitting clerk and triage nurse the mother’s symptoms of preterm labor, she was not examined for five to six hours, despite their constant pleading. By the time the mother was finally examined, the emergency room doctor immediately realized that she was getting ready to deliver her baby. Had the mother been examined more quickly, there would have been a very good chance that her preterm labor could have been stopped with medications. This process is called Tocolysis. Instead, the mother delivered a very premature baby who incurred cerebral palsy as a result of his prematurity. The cerebral palsy left the baby with mental retardation and severe physical deficits. Suit was filed in Beaver County against the hospital on the theory that a woman in the mother’s condition should have been evaluated in the emergency room immediately upon the presentation of her symptoms.
The case was defended on the theory that regardless of when the mother was seen in the emergency room, she would have delivered a preterm infant in any event. Both plaintiffs and defendants secured anticipated expert testimony from eight expert witnesses each.
Shortly before jury selection, Harry S. Cohen & Associates negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement and set up a “special needs” trust so that Minor-Plaintiff will forever be taken care of. With the settlement proceeds, the trustee and the Coles’ oversaw the construction of a totally accessible home in a school district with excellent special needs programs. The trustee will also oversee a structured financial investment plan to provide for lifetime income to accommodate Minor-Plaintiff’s special needs, including multiple forms of ongoing therapy, nursing care, transportation and all other state-of-the-art accommodations for Minor-Plaintif