Caroline and J.T. Malatesta were awarded $16 million in a lawsuit filed back in 2014. The lawsuit was against Birmingham, AL’s Brookwood Baptist Medical Center. The couple claimed that one of the nurses in the delivery room tried to push the baby back into Caroline’s vagina while she was giving birth.
Malatesta chose Brookwood Baptist Medical Center because they advertised options for women wanting to experience a natural birth and provided confirmation that it was a sound medical choice. She was led to believe that she would be able to walk around and be free from monitoring during her labor via research of the hospital on their website and through conversations with her doctor.
Malatesta arrived at the hospital already far into her labor. The nurse informed her that she would need to lie down for monitoring and that she would likely have to stay there, advice that completely contradicted the plans she’d already made with her doctor. When Malatesta informed the nurse about it, she was told that she needed to stay in bed and that her doctor was not on call.
Sometime later when her water finally broke, Malatesta got on her hands and knees to deliver the baby. It was a position she had already discussed with her doctor and was assured would be safe. The nurse then forced Malatesta back into the bed and held the baby’s head inside of her vagina while they waited for the on-call doctor.
Malatesta said she yelled at the nurses to let her baby come and estimates that she was held that way for 6 minutes. Once the doctor arrived, her baby was born within a minute.
Several months after giving birth, Malatesta was still experiencing severe pain from the labor. After several attempts to get questions about her labor answered, the facility referred her to their attorneys.
Malatesta found out that she had sustained permanent nerve damage called pudendal neuralgia. This disorder affects a nerve that runs through the pelvic region, according to WebMD.
The damage from the delivery has made it difficult for the mom to be as active as she once with her four kids. She told Alabama Living that the pain has made sex difficult and that she spends a lot of time in hot baths and rest.
“It’s impacted my oldest the most because she’s at an age where she needs me more emotionally… I haven’t been able to be the mother I want to be,” Malatesta said.
Malatesta filed a lawsuit against the hospital in 2014. On August 5, 2016, The jury awarded $10 million in damages for her injuries, $1 million to her husband for his loss due to her injuries and $5 million in damages for reckless fraud.
The doctor and nurses who were involved in Malatesta’s labor claim to have no memory of that day.
Malatesta said that while she’s happy about winning the lawsuit, she feels bad about “faulting an organization that’s made up of people, many of whom work hard and deeply care about their patients.”
Malatesta said she hopes women feel more comfortable talking about birth trauma and speaking out so other women don’t have to have similar experiences.
Article Sources: The San Francisco Globe