A Texas jury has awarded Rachel Melancon nearly $10.3 million on August 17 following a two week-long trial over the death of her newborn baby Olivia Marie Coats on January 1, 2014. The lawsuit, filed against the Medical Center for Southeast Texas and Dr. George Backardjiev, stated that Dr. Backardjiev improperly used forceps during the delivery on December 28, 2013, resulting in fatal head injuries.
The lawsuit stated that Dr. Backardjiev attempted to use forceps to help deliver Baby Olivia, but that they slipped during the second attempt. A nurse then reportedly brought up the idea of a cesarean delivery (C-section), a suggestion the doctor declined before attempting to use forceps for a third time. During the next contraction, the forceps slipped for a second time, and yet again during the final attempt. It wasn’t until this point that Dr. Backardjiev decided to perform a C-section.
The forceps were used after Baby Olivia’s heartrate continued to increase while Melancon had developed a 103 fever. Apparently, the infant was facing the wrong way, prompting Dr. Backardjiev to attempt to reposition Baby Olivia with his hands before switching to forceps.
Baby Olivia was successfully delivered, but she had suffered from brain hemorrhaging and a skull fracture, and needed to be put on life support. She was taken off life support four days later after it was discovered that several of her organs were failing. Her heart valve and tissue from behind her knees and legs were donated and used to save the life of another baby.
The CEO of the Medical Center of Southeast Texas, Richard Gonzalez, released a statement after the jury reached their verdict:
"While we are very sympathetic for the mother's loss and apparently, the jury was swayed by sympathy as well, we strongly support our nurses and the excellent care they deliver. We disagree with the verdict for a number of legal factual reasons and will pursue post verdict relief and appeal."
While birth injuries don’t always lead to death, it’s still a possibility. When the injuries were caused by the negligence of a medical professional, you may be able to pursue legal action in order to recover any medical bills and recover damages you incur from the tragic situation. At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, our Houston medical malpractice attorneys have over a century of combined experience handling these types of claims, and will fight for your rights until you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at (888) 367-7160 to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers.