July 5, 2019

On July 1, 2019, after two-and-a-half hours of jury deliberations, a Baltimore medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $229,640,000 in favor of the plaintiff against a Johns Hopkins hospital for the catastrophic brain injury suffered by her premature baby born at the hospital at 25 weeks gestation. The Baltimore medical malpractice birth injury jury awarded $3,620,000 for past medical expenses, $200,000,000 for future medical expenses, $1,020,000 for lost earnings, and $25,000,000 in noneconomic damages.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant hospital failed to properly assess the well-being of the fetus and failed to properly assess her presentation, resulting in a plan of care based on inaccurate information that caused the baby to suffer a catastrophic brain injury. The Baltimore medical malpractice plaintiff further alleged that the defendant hospital failed to obtain her informed consent regarding her medical care.

The plaintiff became pregnant at the age of 15 and was transferred to the defendant Johns Hopkins hospital for severe pre-eclampsia when she was 25 weeks pregnant. The plaintiff’s Maryland medical malpractice lawyer stated that the defendant hospital vacillated between telling the teenager that the baby had no chance of survival and telling her that she and her baby had a fair chance of a positive outcome.

The plaintiff alleged in her Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that she initially consented to a Cesarean section delivery but was later told that physicians from the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit would not be present for the delivery of her baby and that only comfort care would be provided to her baby if the baby was born alive (the plaintiff alleged that she was told by a consulting neonatologist that the baby would likely be born dead or be neurodevelopmentally disabled).

The plaintiff further alleged that she was offered termination of her pregnancy even though termination of pregnancy is not normally an option after 24 weeks of gestation unless there are genetic abnormalities. The plaintiff alleged that the OB/GYN Department head was told about her and advised the attending physicians that termination of her pregnancy was inappropriate and that they should tell the plaintiff that staff from the NICU would not be present for the birth, but she was never provided that information regarding termination of her pregnancy. Had she been provided the information, the plaintiff alleged that she would have proceeded with the Cesarean delivery.

The plaintiff alleged that the fetus was not in distress at that time and that the baby should have been delivered by Cesarean delivery.

The plaintiff alleged that her physicians stopped monitoring her fetus’ heart rate more than two days before the delivery. Labor was induced on October 23, 2014 and the baby was born on October 24, 2014, without a heart beat and not breathing. The baby weighed less than a pound-and-a-half at birth and was resuscitated in the NICU. The baby suffered a severe brain injury and developmental delays as a result of oxygen deprivation to her brain but did not suffer many of the medical issues typically associated with premature birth.

The plaintiff’s Maryland medical malpractice lawyer stated, “Had she [the plaintiff] been told the right information, she would have continued to accept the C-section.”

The noneconomic award will likely be vastly reduced pursuant to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.

The defendant Johns Hopkins Hospital indicated that it plans to appeal.

Source The case is captioned Byrom v. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Inc., Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case No.: 24-C-18-002909.

If you or your baby suffered a birth injury (or worse) during labor and/or delivery in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a birth injury lawyer in Maryland or in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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