$4M Verdict Animating Vacuum-Assisted Birth InjuryDavid S. Woodruff, Esq., Denver Trial Lawyers, Denver, CO
A vacuum-assisted birth involves a doctor using a vacuum device to guide a baby out of the birth canal by the head. Normally, the vacuum is not applied until the baby reaches Station 3, toward the end of the birth canal. This procedure normally takes seven minutes.
The defendant doctor in this case started the vacuum at Station 0 - deep inside the birth canal. She also placed the vacuum improperly, cock-eyed around the side of the baby's skull. This doctor's procedure would take 25 minutes, and result in severe brain hemorrhaging, skull deformation, and permanent brain damage.
David Woodruff, Esq., needed a series of animations to show how this gross negligence caused his young client a lifetime of pain and suffering.
The following animations helped Mr. Woodruff return a $4M verdict - $5.5M after accounting for interest - in addition to a confidential settlement in an earlier part of the case.
The professionals at High Impact are truly phenomenal. They understand complex medical issues and have a remarkable ability to capture those medical concepts in images that communicate clearly to juries. High Impact’s fantastic work, in this case, was instrumental in recovering this child nearly $8 million.
David S. Woodruff, Esq., Denver Trial Lawyers, Denver, CO
Normal Unassisted Birth
First, we demonstrated what a normal birth looks like, without vacuum assistance, which helped jurors understand the normal birthing anatomy and the location of Station 0 for later discussions about negligence.
A clock in the top-left corner tracks the time so we could speed up the animation without losing context.
Normal Vacuum-Assisted Birth
After showing a normal birth, we animated a normal vacuum-assistant birth to demonstrate the correct procedure that should have occurred.
We highlight where the vacuum is applied at Station 3, and then cut to two perspectives from the top and side, showing what is supposed to happen throughout this procedure that normally takes seven minutes.
Once we had established the way everything was supposed to happen, we demonstrated the actions of the defendant. This cringe-inducing animation shows the painful 25 minutes of torture this doctor forced this child through while breaking down what the doctor did wrong.
Gonna be honest, I cried a few times while animating this - and only a few jobs get that reaction. Just seeing the size of the hematoma, the permanent scar in the client photos, and knowing that the family goes through a struggle everyday was heavy. So happy they got a win from this whole ordeal and hopefully it helps them with their lives.
Ben Taylor, Senior Technical Animator, High impact
We highlight where the surgeon incorrectly starts the procedure at Station 0. We then compare the correct placement versus the defendant's placement. As the doctor pulls on the baby's head, we show the progression of brain bleeding as the skull starts to deform. We reinforce the intensity of this experience with a fetal monitoring strip that shows the baby's heart rate rise to 220 beats per minute.
Illustrating Right vs Wrong
Finally, we provided Mr. Woodruff with this illustration board comparing the right way versus the wrong way to place the vacuum.
The visual presentation helped jurors understand why the doctor was undeniably and egregiously liable for the baby's injuries. The case resulted in a $4M verdict, which amounted to $5.5M after accounting for costs and interests.