In a ruling last Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada restored a $3,224,000 damages award to a B.C. girl whose health was severely compromised by a birthing error. In a unanimous decision the court said that the obstetrician who attended her birth was negligent when he used forceps to aid with the delivery causing the baby’s brain to be deprived of oxygen. The obstetrician also failed to assemble a surgical team for the delivery by Caesarean section in case of an emergency.
The girl is now 15 years old and suffers from permanent spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy. She is confined to a wheel chair, unable to speak and fed through a tube. Her life expectancy is 38 years.
Although in this case, the obstetrician fell below the standard of care, the Supreme Court indicated that they do not suggest that a standard of care must prevent injury in all circumstances.