On August 16, 2021, after a two-and-a-half week trial and two days of jury deliberations, a Baltimore City medical malpractice jury found against defendant MedStar Harbor Hospital for the irreversible hypoxic brain injury suffered by a newborn just hours after his birth. The Baltimore medical malpractice jury awarded $1,189,000.90 in past medical expenses, $32,207,525.00 in future life care needs, and $1,373,767.00 in lost earnings, for a total of $34,770,292.90. The plaintiff’s lawyers strategically requested that the jury award zero in noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, which are subject to a cap in Maryland medical malpractice cases, so that the jury would focus on the large amount of economic damages incurred as a result of the medical negligence.
The Underlying Facts
Jordan Biggs was a twin who had breathing problems (apneic) at the time of his birth on August 19, 2007. The twin boys were born almost one month early. Jordan required bag valve mask ventilation at the time of his birth until he as able to breathe on his own. His twin brother did not have the same medical problems as Jordan. Jordan was admitted to the defendant hospital’s Special Care Nursery at about 4:45 a.m., at which time he was breathing on his own.
About 55 minutes after he arrived at the Special Care Nursery, he suffered an apneic episode and had to be intubated because he was cyanotic and was observed to have turned blue. He was placed on a ventilator, was found to have high acid levels, and he suffered three seizures. Jordan was transported later that day to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital where a CT scan determined that he had suffered a brain injury likely caused by a lack of oxygen while being treated, according to the plaintiff’s Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged that the nurses at the defendant hospital’s Special Care Nursery did not contact the on-call pediatrician until 5:40 a.m., which left Jordan alone for several minutes while he could not breathe. According to the plaintiff’s Maryland medical malpractice attorney, the defendant hospital lacked documentation for the period of time during which Jordan was injured. The plaintiff’s medical experts testified as to alleged medical negligence in the defendant hospital’s Special Care Nursery that led to the newborn’s catastrophic injuries while the hospital’s medical experts argued that the newborn’s brain injury had been caused by compression of his umbilical cord before his birth.
The now 14-year-old Jordan suffers from cerebral palsy and will require a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He requires assistance with all of his activities of daily living. He is dependent on receiving nutrition through a feeding tube.
After the verdict, defendant MedStar Harbor Hospital issued a statement expressing “our hearts go out to this child and his family” and further stating, “While we are disappointed in and strongly disagree with today’s verdict, we respect the legal process. We defended this case in court because we believe the clinical facts and the evidence presented support the outstanding care our clinicians provided.”
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