• Kyodo

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The Nagoya District Court on Monday ordered a municipal hospital to pay 36.5 million yen to the parents of a boy who died five months after birth due to improper delivery by hospital staff.

Presiding Judge Junko Ikadatsu ordered the Nagoya Municipal Government and other responsible parties to pay the compensation for causing the infant — the latter of a set of twins born in June 1991 — to suffer from cerebral palsy and consequently die.

“There were flaws (in the hospital staff’s actions), such as when they artificially broke the amniotic membrane even though there was a high possibility that the position of the second child might have changed,” Ikadatsu said in handing down her ruling.

The plaintiffs, a couple in their 30s from Aichi Prefecture, were demanding about 40 million yen.

The ruling said that after the first boy was delivered, the second baby’s body turned sideways inside the womb and the umbilical cord came out first, causing the boy to suffer from oxygen deprivation.

In addition, the slight delay in performing a Caesarean section caused the boy to be born unconscious and apparently dead, the ruling said. He died five months later after choking while being fed milk, it said.

The couple asserted that the umbilical cord came out because the hospital staff had not confirmed the position of the second baby inside the womb and that the Caesarean section was delayed because they had not made sufficient preparations for the operation.

The defendants had argued that the hospital staff dealt with the situation “appropriately” considering the size of the medical institution and the standards of medical practice at the time.

“The ruling is very harsh,” said Yoshio Takahashi, head of the hospital’s administration division. “We would like to study it carefully and consider what actions to take.”