Thursday, November 1, 2012

Finding Justice for Bailey

By Terresa Gaither

Mothers’ Day will always be a mixture of joy and sorrow for me. My son, Bailey, was born on this day, May 9, 1999, and I’ve been blessed by his existence every day for 13 years.
It was also the holiday that my doctors and nurses delayed too long in delivering Bailey, resulting in brain damage.
For a long time I blamed myself and God. I kept asking, “Why me?” Then, a very special person in my life told me that God gives special babies to special people. I feel honored to be the mother of a child with disabilities.
I ended up filing a lawsuit over Bailey’s birth. According to my suit, my doctor and nurses were negligent in continuing to give me larger and larger doses of Pitocin (a drug to induce labor), even though Bailey was showing signs of fetal distress. As a result, Bailey suffered “severe and permanent neurological damage,” by the time he was born, my lawsuit notes.
The doctor used a vacuum extractor to deliver Bailey, who weighed 8 pounds 15 ounces and was 21 inches long. I suffered major blood loss and third degree vaginal tears, which required surgical repairs, my suit documents.
According to my attorneys, the doctor should have come to the hospital sooner and delivered Bailey by C-section.

Normal Pregnancy Turns into Nightmare

Bailey was immediately transferred to the NICU at another hospital nearly 60 miles away. I remember before he left, getting to see him for 5 minutes, long enough to tell him I loved him. I wasn’t even able to touch him. You can’t imagine how hard it is to lay in a hospital bed while your son is in another hospital over an hour away fighting for his life.

Specialist Raises Questions About the Birth

Since that day, my husband, David, and I have had to fight for Bailey, who has mixed spastic dynostic cerebral palsy. He cannot speak, walk, sit up or feed himself.
The diagnosis took a year and a half and came from a specialist at a larger hospital near our small town in Alabama. He looked through Bailey’s medical records and, after telling us Bailey would always need specialized care, asked us if we had thought about getting an attorney.
We discussed his question all the way home and we made a decision together to start pulling Bailey’s medical records. It took me three months just to get the records from the hospital and the medical practice.

Persistence Leads to Janet, Jenner & Suggs

The first law firm we contacted kept our files for two years before saying they weren’t equipped to handle the case and that there wasn’t any negligence. The second law firm concluded the case was too big for them to handle, but advised us to keep pursuing legal action.  
At this time, we felt like giving up. It was my mom who wouldn’t let us, encouraging us to push forward.
While researching a special education class for Bailey on the Web, an advertisement for Janet Jenner and Suggs’ law firm caught my eye. I filled out the short contact form and within two weeks, a nurse called and asked me detailed questions. The firm took the case.
Because of a confidentiality agreement, I can’t disclose what happened with the case. But, I can tell you it was a long, drawn out process. But JJ&S attorneys kept us in the loop and assured us every step of the way.
Ken Suggs wasn’t just our attorney, he became our friend. We could tell he really cared about Bailey and we feel honored to have this remarkable attorney in our son’s corner. He’s the kind of attorney who is passionate about speaking for the kids who can’t speak for themselves.
About our case, Ken said, “It was obvious from looking at the medical records that standards of care weren’t followed. Typical of these cases, it wasn’t a single mistake, but a series of missteps and miscommunications that led to the outcome. The firm connected the dots, using the medical and legal expertise it is known for. Bailey and his family have a special place in my life, and always will.”

Bailey is the Joy of Our Lives

Bailey loves to go to school, play outside and spend summers on the lake. But what he enjoys the most is spending time with his brother, Cody, and his grandpa, Wes. He’s just a regular boy trapped in a body that doesn’t allow him to do the things he wants.
No matter what kind of a day we’ve had, Bailey can always make it better just by smiling. He is the joy of our lives.

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