I’m going to attempt to do something here which likely won’t happen again. . .
I’m going to write about a potentially controversial current event.
I don’t watch the news. I barely read the news. It’s largely doomsday hype and frankly, I’d rather spend my days crawling around on the floor prying crayons out of my kid’s mouth than find another 8,000,000 reasons to be fearful, angry, or bitter at this world delivered in 90 second oversimplified, sensationalized soundbites.
But I do get Tweets. . .And once in a while there’s a news tweet that piques my curiosity.
So when I saw a Tweet this morning mentioning a local family that was awarded a record-breaking damages settlement in a birth injury litigation, I was curious.
I’ve read two different reports regarding the outcome of the trial. Both of these are from mainstream media outlets and are clearly just a brief overview of the trial but in a nutshell:
Mom was attempting to deliver baby at home with the assistance of a midwife. Things become complicated. Mom rushes to Johns Hopkins in need of an emergency C-Section. Mom waits approximately 2 hours for said C-section, during which time she alleges, the baby is deprived of oxygen causing an unfortunate circumstance where the child is left largely physically and mentally compromised. The jury awarded this family $55 million dollars. (There is a damages cap in MD – which this award far exceeds – and I’m certain the hospital will appeal).
Is anyone else so conflicted about this you don’t even know how to sort it all out?
On one hand, I think home birth is a really cool concept. On the other hand, there are huge risks. Then again, there are huge risks with any childbirth. But wouldn’t you rather put the odds perhaps a little more in your favor and be in a hospital where hopefully a trained medical professional can assist you rapidly? Even if you really hate hospitals and some of the less pleasant aspects of a hospital birth?
On one hand, I understand that in theory when you are rushed to a hospital with a dire emergency, you should receive urgent care. However, don’t most reasonable people expect there could be even a slight delay? Don’t doctors have tests and things they have to perform in order to develop a clear picture of the necessary treatment? Wouldn’t one consider this as part of the risk associated with a home birth situation should a complication arise?
So often these cases boil down to a battle of the experts. Aren’t you curious to know how an expert could say with any reasonable degree of medical certainty the baby was deprived of a sufficient amount of oxygen from the moment the child reached the hospital until the procedure was performed? What about the trip to the hospital? How do they know when exactly things started to go horribly wrong for this little soul? There could be a way, I’m just not educated enough about such things to even begin to discuss it further.
Does anyone else worry that the massive amount of the damages awarded (Although, let me be clear, you cannot put a price on a healthy child), is exactly the sort of thing that creates some of the problems our healthcare systems are facing? On one hand, I think this child deserves a ton of resources to assist him developmentally and help him become the best little person he can be despite his limitations. On the other hand, $55 million?
Surely the threat of litigation, costs of litigation, malpractice insurance help to drive up the costs of healthcare – which everyone needs and deserves but far fewer can afford. Yet, if I were in a similar situation, although it wouldn’t be apples to apples because as much as I hate hospitals, I wouldn’t choose to give birth at home, I might be thankful for a legal recourse.
And I have to admit this, as much as I’m trying not to judge anyone involved given what limited information I have regarding the situation but: I’m a little angry. I’m a little angry with everyone involved – the parents, the doctors, the attorneys, the experts, and even the jurors.
The only one who lost in this situation was the baby boy. And adults can blame one another all they want in courtrooms, in the press, in any public forum they so choose but let’s not forget the baby.
Maybe everyone should have been thinking a little more about him to begin with.
I’m not sure. I’m just not sure?
I don’t have any answers and I’m truly conflicted about the whole thing.
Please know, I didn’t draft this post with the intent of being controversial or inflammatory or polarizing. I just felt as if I needed to sort through my thoughts and perhaps you might have some thoughts or insights to help me/us. Comments are always welcome. If you feel strongly, please choose your words carefully. :)
We’ll resume your regularly scheduled snark and delusional ranting as soon as I have adequate material. . .which should be any moment now!