Edwards and Malpractice

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 31, 2004 | Go to article overview

Edwards and Malpractice


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The editorial "The science of malpractice" (July 25) criticizes Sen. John Edwards as using "dubious" science to win malpractice cases for children with cerebral palsy. The Times points out that in addition to deprivation of oxygen as a cause of the brain damage known as cerebral palsy, there are many other known causes. The editorial complains that "[t]he trial lawyer carefully screened potential plaintiffs."

Mr. Edwards did what every competent trial lawyer does in screening malpractice cases before filing suit. It is well known in medical science that persistent and substantial deprivation of oxygen for a substantial time during labor and delivery can, indeed, cause brain damage to the fetus that can result in cerebral palsy. Cord blood testing shows when the fetus's blood supply has become acidotic and deprived of oxygen, a state that, when severe, correlates nicely with brain damage or cerebral palsy.

The competent trial lawyer knows that there are many other known causes of cerebral palsy and must carefully screen the cases to make sure that sustained substantial oxygen deprivation has caused the brain damage, rather than something else. The obstetric profession has devised guidelines to determine whether the cerebral palsy or brain damage was caused by oxygen deprivation or something else.

My first experience with prosecuting a malpractice case for a child with cerebral palsy was in 1976, in Moore v. Washington Hospital Center. It was the first multimillion-dollar obstetric negligence verdict in the nation. Mr. Edwards at that time was a law student in North Carolina.

The 1976 case involved a baby who was in a breech, or feet-first, position. The hospital record indicated that the resident obstetricians pulled down the baby's feet in the labor room. The nurse made the note. The two residents testified in depositions (questioning under oath) that the record was wrong, that they pulled down the feet in the operating room and not in the delivery room. The nurse was nowhere to be found, and for good reason. She was in England training to be a nurse-midwife.

Through a lot of luck, we were able to locate her when she came back to this country, and she testified under oath that she remembered the case very well and that the young resident obstetricians did, indeed, pull the baby's feet down and out in the labor room and that she admonished them for it.

Pulling the baby down before they were prepared to deliver caused the umbilical cord to be compressed for such a long period of time that oxygen-rich blood was unable to be circulated to the brain, causing horrendous brain damage. After the verdict, a hospital administrator noted that the jury's verdict was the best thing that ever happened to help clean up the obstetrics department.

Since that trial, there have been many, many more children born with cerebral palsy. In many instances, the cause of cerebral palsy is totally unrelated to anything that the physicians, nurses and medical personnel did or didn't do. In many cases, the cause is unknown. In other cases, the cause is demonstrated to be improper action or inaction by the medical personnel.

When scientific evidence proves a causal relationship between malpractice and cerebral palsy, the law should and does mandate compensation for the innocent child injured for life by the malpractice. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Edwards and Malpractice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.