Severe Birth Injury Leads to $73.2 Million Award in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Lorenza Botello was 36 years old when she got pregnant with her first child. Over the course of her 17 visits to the Pocos ValleyClinic in New Mexico, she should have received additional ultrasounds, examinations, and close monitoring due to both her age and the fact that she was diabetic. No additional testing was ever done, causing severe injuries to the mother and leading the infant to sustain lifelong damages.

Birth Injury Caused by Negligence

According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “The mother’s excess amounts of blood glucose are transferred to the fetus during pregnancy, causing the baby’s body to secrete increased amounts of insulin which results in increased tissue and fat deposits”. This causes infants of diabetic mothers to be larger, on average, than typical newborns and require close monitoring throughout the pregnancy.

Despite multiple risk factors and red flags throughout Botello’s pregnancy, Dr. Jerry McLaughlin failed to order additional tests and negligently reported the infant’s expected weight as around 8 pounds. According to the court documents, specialists at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center advised Dr. McLaughlin to order additional evaluations and ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy but no evidence of further testing was ever found.

In 2013, Botello went into labor with her son at Pocos Valley. During childbirth, the infant’s shoulders were too wide to pass through the birth canal and he became stuck for over 10 minutes without oxygen. Due to the abnormally large size of the newborn, a vacuum extraction device was used and he was “forcibly yanked”, causing serious damage to both the mother and child. Botello suffered from a severe laceration and her child sustained multiple injuries including nerve damage in his right arm and permanent brain damage.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The infant, now five-year old, suffers from his birth injuries on a daily basis. As a result of Dr. McLaughlin’s negligence, the severity of the child’s brain injuries will prevent him from ever living on his own. When taken to court, Pecos Valley was found guilty of negligence in the birth and delivery of Botello’s infant and allowed permanent damages to occur in both the mother and child. Instead of suggesting a cesarean section before birth, Dr. McLaughlin failed to perform necessary tests to correctly estimate the size of the infant, causing lifelong injuries and allowing the jury to find him and his practice guilty of medical malpractice- awarding the family $73.2 million in damages. Botello hopes the money will allow her son to be able to live a better life with top quality care and services.

Kent Buckingham, Botello’s attorney, said, “This verdict, to me, represents the power of a jury. They will effect change by their vote here, by their award. That will get the attention of every health care provider in New Mexico and, actually, across the country.”

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