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Jury awards $55 million in medical malpractice birth injury

The general factual pattern is similar in many birth injury cases. It's a wonder that the medical profession in Connecticut and throughout the country has not found ways to cut down on or control the incidence of tragic birth deliveries that seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Perhaps a recent medical malpractice award in another state will influence the profession to start talking about how to prevent botched birth deliveries.

In that case, a jury awarded $55 million to a boy who suffered severe birth defects from a 2009 delivery gone awry. The jury assessed half of the award against the hospital and half against the doctor. In this case, the crux of the complaint was that the child suffered severe oxygen deprivation during delivery and that the hospital and doctor should have known to switch to a Caesarean section for the delivery. The baby became stuck during the standard delivery method, and at the same time the mother began bleeding, which required emergency surgery.

The baby was born with cerebral palsy and a variety of other problems. Cerebral palsy is not an inherited condition but rather it develops during pregnancy, delivery or immediately after delivery. One of the causes is oxygen deprivation. Other types of trauma can help to cause it.

The condition is marked by damage to the cerebrum section of the brain, which controls motor functions. Lack of muscle control, spasticity and seizures can be present for the rest of the person's life. There can be a vast number of side problems associated with the brain damage. Over the course of a lifetime, the cost of providing meaningful services and medical treatments can be catastrophic, which likely accounts for the seemingly large jury award.

Connecticut law would provide for a possible similar finding of medical malpractice and hospital malpractice under the facts reported. The amount of the verdict will vary from case to case, depending on the specific proof of damages presented by the victim's medical malpractice attorneys. However, it's reasonable to expect a relatively high award in a case where medical malpractice caused a severe case of cerebral palsy and related conditions.

Source: lehighvalleylive.com, Jury awards family $55 million for boy's injuries at birth at St. Luke's University Hospital, Precious Petty, Dec. 24, 2013

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