Not every case of cerebral palsy is attributable to some shortcoming in care by medical professionals. Sometimes, it’s the result of complications that could not be foreseen or avoided.
But if a failure by doctors, nurses and hospitals to deliver the expected standard of care during pregnancy results in neurological damage, there may be just cause to seek compensation. Indeed, in the most severe cases of cerebral palsy, the anticipated massive costs for lifelong care of the sufferer may indicate that a medical malpractice claim is the only way offer hope for the future.
That sense of hope is surely much brighter now for one 11-year-old boy and his mother. A jury recently found the doctor who handled the child’s delivery in 2003 guilty of negligence. While the case happened in a state other than Missouri, it may well be of interest to readers here.
According to the story, the mother went into labor early back in 2003. In fact, she had gone into labor early three times in the course of just a couple of weeks. According to the woman’s attorney, medication and bed rest halted labor in each instance. But about a week after the third bout, the woman’s water broke and she was admitted to the hospital.
Immediately after getting to the maternity ward, the woman told staff she wanted to deliver as soon as possible — by caesarian section if necessary. But her attorney says the request went unfulfilled. Five hours later, when her attending obstetrician arrived, she asked for a C-section again, but the doctor said no because fetal monitoring showed the baby was healthy.
Some hours later, however, signs of fetal distress appeared and an emergency C-section was performed. It was then discovered that the infant had suffered a severe brain hemorrhage.
After a recent two-week trial, jurors decided the doctor was negligent in refusing the C-section earlier and in failing to provide the mother with any other options.
As a result of the verdict, the hospital and doctor are under orders to pay the boy $5 million for pain and suffering, $8 million for anticipated future care, $1 million for the expenses the mother has accrued to date and $500,000 for past economic loss.
Source: The Plain Dealer, “Garfield Heights boy and mother awarded $14.5 million in malpractice case,” Karen Farkas, June 13, 2014