As part of a continuing investigation of improperly sealed court records and medical malpractice lawsuits, the Times recently exposed a birth injury shoulder dystocia lawsuit and the details that had been hidden from everyone, including the state.
The birth injury lawsuit began in 2001. In 1999, the woman underwent a difficult delivery and when the doctor saw that there were complications, he told the midwives to contrinue to do what they were doing. The child wound up with brain damage, spastic quadriplegia, and a seizure disorder. The family sued the doctor and health group for medical malpractice, stating that they should have recognized the risk factors for shoulder dystocia.
The two sides settled in 2003 with the defendants agreeing to pay $5.5 million. In return for the settlement, the family had to agree not to reveal or discuss with anyone the names of “the parties released,” including the defendants.
Because this settlement was hidden away and only a different one for $800,000 showed on this doctor’s records, he was only given the lighest punishment possible from the Washington State Department of Health.
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