By Terresa Gaither
Our precious son, Bailey, was born on Mother’s Day, May 9, 1999. Unfortunately, what should have been a joyous day celebrating a new life was instead consumed by unanswered questions and worries about what had happened to our new baby.
As soon as Bailey was born, he was whisked to a NICU at a hospital nearly 60 miles away. I was only able to see him for 5 minutes, long enough to tell him I loved him, before the nurses took him away. I wasn’t even able to touch him. Those were some of the hardest moments of my life, laying in bed helpless while my newborn baby was miles away, fighting for his life.
We would later find out that the doctor had delayed too long in delivering Bailey, causing him to go into distress. The doctor used a vacuum extractor to deliver Bailey and I suffered major blood loss and third degree vaginal tears, which required surgical repair.
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.
Since Bailey’s birth, my husband, David, and I have been fighting to find out what was wrong and why this happened. It took over a year to get a diagnosis for Bailey’s condition. A specialist at a large hospital near our home told us Bailey had dynostic cerebral palsy. As a result, he cannot speak, walk, sit up or feed himself and will always need specialized care. Needless to say, we were devastated.
When the specialist looked through Bailey’s medical records, he asked us if we had considered contacting an attorney. My husband and I spent the ride home considering our options. We definitely wanted to do what was best for Bailey, and we decided to start gathering his medical records. This was not an easy process. It took three months just to get the records from the hospital and the medical practice!
We ended up contacting two different law firms before we found one that we trusted and that was competent to handle our case. The first firm we approached held on to Bailey’s files for two years! Eventually, they came back to us and said there wasn’t evidence of medical negligence and they weren’t equipped to handle the case. Our guts told us something had gone wrong in the hospital and to keep trying.
We contacted another law firm. We were encouraged when they told us that although the case was too big for them to handle, we should continue to pursue legal action.
By this point, we felt like giving up. My mom, however, wouldn’t let us. Her encouragement kept us going.
One day, I was online researching special education classes for Bailey. A cerebral palsy advertisement from the Janet Jenner and Suggs’ law firm caught my eye. This could be what we’ve been looking for! I filled out the form and anxiously waited to hear back from the firm. To our huge relief, they took our case!
According to our lawsuit, the doctor and nurses were negligent in continuing to give me larger and larger doses of Pitocin (a drug to induce labor) when Bailey was showing obvious signs of fetal distress. These mistakes caused Bailey “severe and permanent neurological damage.” Sadly, this could have all been prevented had the doctor come to the hospital sooner and delivered Bailey by C-section.
The JJS attorneys were so kind to us throughout the legal process. They were always careful to keep us in the loop about what was going on in our case and reassured us every step of the way.
Ken Suggs was more than just our attorney; he became our friend. It was obvious that he truly cared about Bailey and our family and that he believed in being a voice for those that can’t speak for themselves. We couldn’t have asked for a better attorney to have in our son’s corner.
Despite the tragic circumstances of his birth, Bailey has been the joy of our lives since the day he was born. 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.