August 2, 2012

On July 31, 2012, a Maryland medical malpractice jury awarded a total of $21 million ($18 million for future medical expenses, $2 million for future lost wages, and $1 million in non-economic damages) to a now-9-year-old child and his parents after a two-week, hotly contested trial that focused on the birth of the child at a local Baltimore hospital on September 6, 2002.

The expectant mother was 32-weeks pregnant when the fetus’ high blood pressure and the mother’s high blood pressure caused the doctor to decide to induce labor in response to the dangerous medical conditions. The next day, a fetal heart rate monitor indicated that the fetus’ oxygen level was low. The medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged that the doctor should have delivered the baby by prompt Cesarean section delivery. But the doctor allowed the labor to continue for an additional three hours after which the baby was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. The baby was allegedly deprived of oxygen as a result, causing him to be floppy and pale at birth and needing to be resuscitated.

The baby developed spastic diplegia cerebral palsy that does not affect him mentally but will require him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life because of his difficulty in moving his arms and his legs. The plaintiffs alleged that the injuries were due to the failure of the doctor to promptly perform the Cesarean section delivery that resulted in the deprivation of oxygen to the fetus, whereas the medical malpractice defendants alleged that the baby’s injuries and medical conditions were caused by the premature birth and not by anything that the doctor or the hospital did or failed to do.

The $1 million awarded by the medical malpractice jury for non-economic damages will be automatically reduced to the amount of the cap on non-economic damages in effect at the time of the injuries, thereby reducing the jury’s award to approximately $20.6 million.

The medical malpractice defendants failed to make any settlement offer before trial. After the jury’s verdict was read, the defendants’ trial attorney expressed his frustration at the jury’s verdict, chastising the jury for what he considered to be its disregard of the evidence, and predicting that the verdict will cause obstetricians to flee the area. The defendants’ attorney stated that he and the defendants were discussing their next steps in the litigation, including whether they would file an appeal, which the plaintiffs’ attorney anticipates will be filed.

Source: The Daily Record, August 1, 2012.

Doctors overseeing the birth of babies must exercise the appropriate level of care during the entire labor and delivery process. When they fail to meet the required standard of care under the circumstances of each birth, then dire consequences may be suffered by the baby and/or the mother.

The birth of a baby that has been happily anticipated by the parents for upwards of nine months may tragically become the worst day of their lives if avoidable medical mistakes or medical negligence cause permanent and debilitating injuries to their baby. Instead of enjoying a lifetime of pride and satisfaction in watching and sharing in their child’s achievements and accomplishments, the parents now face the fact that they must provide their child with total care and assistance with the child’s daily needs.

If your child may have suffered serious or permanent birth injuries as a result of carelessness, inattention, or medical negligence during labor and delivery, you may have a right to file a claim for medical malpractice to seek compensation for the medical expenses and the losses sustained as a result of the medical wrongdoing. The prompt assistance of a local medical malpractice attorney may be essential in obtaining justice for you and your child.

Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you with a medical malpractice claim. You may also reach us on our toll-free telephone line: 800-295-3959.

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