Birth Injury Lawsuit Involving Water Birth Settled Out of Court

Posted on February 3, 2016 at 11:54am by

Photo of courtroomA tragic birth injury has led a Portland family to file a lawsuit against the hospital, Legacy Good Samaritan, for medical malpractice. The family members allege that their son’s cerebral palsy diagnosis is a direct result of the negligent actions of the hospital staff.

During birth, the baby was deprived of oxygen for an extended period, causing a brain injury which led to cerebral palsy. The family of the newborn says the birth asphyxia could have been avoided. They say that if they had been warned of the dangers inherent in water births, they never would have elected to go through with it.

The Risks Involved in Water Births

Just like its name suggests, a water birth is done by allowing the mother to give birth in a tub of warm water. This practice was advertised by the hospital as being a soothing and gentler experience, but the truth is that the dangers far outnumber the reported benefits.

The family members claim that the Samaritan advertised the benefits of water birth, but failed to tell them of the risks involved. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have said that water births are not safe and present a variety of unnecessary dangers, including:

  • Drowning
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Pneumonia
  • Meconium aspiration
  • Infection

The Birth Injury Lawsuit

Originally, the family sued the physicians and the hospital for $36 million in damages, including compensation for pain and suffering as well as punitive damages. They also demanded as part of the lawsuit that the hospital immediately stop advertising for and practicing water births.

Eventually, both parties agreed to an undisclosed monetary settlement, but a spokesperson for the healthcare system has said that there have been no changes to the policies regarding water births.


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