March 24, 2022

On March 21, 2022, an Iowa medical malpractice jury deliberated for about 90 minutes after a 14-day trial before it returned its verdict in the amount of $97.4 million in favor of the parents of a newborn who suffered permanent brain damage during delivery in 2018 as a result of the improper use of forceps and a vacuum that “crush[ed] the baby’s head.” The Iowa birth injury medical malpractice defendants were Mercy Hospital, Dr. Jill Goodman, and OB-GYN Associates.

The jury determined that Mercy Hospital and OB-GYN Associates were equally responsible for the damages awarded for future medical and custodial care, loss of future earning capacity, past and future pain and suffering, and past loss and future loss of function of the mind and body.

Underlying Facts

The 39-year-old pregnant woman was experiencing painful contractions when she was admitted to the defendant hospital at about 1 p.m. on August 11, 2018. The baby started experiencing fetal distress at about 2 p.m. that the hospital appropriately addressed until the fetal distress worsened about one hour later. The parents claimed in their Iowa medical malpractice lawsuit that a Cesarean delivery should have been performed and had it been performed between 3 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., the baby would have avoided the catastrophic injuries the baby was about to experience. Instead, the defendant OBGYN used forceps and performed a vacuum delivery. The forceps reportedly slipped off of the baby’s head twice, which resulted in a skull fracture above the baby’s left ear that caused a severe and permanent hypoxic brain injury. The vacuum attached to the baby’s head allegedly resulted in brain hemorrhaging.

After the baby was delivered, the baby was transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City where the infant was diagnosed with ischemic brain injury, seizures, facial nerve palsy, and skull fracture with subdural hemorrhage, The infant remained in the ICU for 46 days. The now three-year-old child has cerebral palsy, a learning disability, needs assistance to stand and take steps, and will required 24-hour care for the rest of his life. It is unlikely that the child will ever be able to work.

The parents’ birth injury lawyer stated after the verdict, “The acts of malpractice committed by OB-GYN Associates of Iowa City and Mercy Hospital were egregious. As a result of their malpractice by improperly delivering a baby with forceps and a vacuum, and crushing his head, producing permanent brain damage. They not only destroyed the life of the little baby, Scotty, but his entire family who must care for him for the rest of his life.”

A spokesperson for the defendant hospital stated, “Mercy Iowa City is disappointed in the verdict. While we respect the legal process, we disagree with the jury’s conclusion and will consider all available options. Our primary focus remains on providing high quality care to our patients and families.”


If you or  your baby suffered a birth injury during labor and/or delivery in Iowa or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly find a birth injury lawyer in Iowa or in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury case, if appropriate.

Click on the “Contact Us Now” tab to the right, visit our website, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find birth injury attorneys in your state who may assist you.

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