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The birth of a child should be a wonderful, joyous occasion. Parents have been waiting nine long months to meet their little one, taking the time to prepare a nursery, purchase baby clothes and open their hearts to a tiny new person. However, if Massachusetts doctors fail to notice the signs of something wrong, it can result in severe brain injuries that can forever scar the child and the family.

A Maryland family experienced what many would call a nightmare. Their 5-year-old is now severely disabled as a result of a rare heart disease she was born with. Shortly after the child’s birth, the parents brought their daughter to the pediatrician’s office. Nurses recorded heart rates of 184 and 192 beats per minute – well above the normal heart rate for a baby, which is 130 to 160 beats per minute. According to the family’s attorney, the issue at hand that the pediatrician failed to refer the baby to a pediatric cardiologist.

The infant has a condition called coarctation of the aorta, which cannot be detected at birth but can quickly become worse. One day after the initial doctor visits, the infant was not breathing well. Her mother sought emergency help, which led to surgery. The baby had to be revived during the trip, and her heart also stopped during the surgery, which resulted in brain damage and severe disability.

The attorney who brought the medical malpractice suit noted that with early diagnosis and surgery, the heart condition could have been corrected. A jury recently decided to award the family $7 million in damages, including $1 million for pain and suffering. While no amount of money can change the child’s current state, it may help the family feel justice was served. Any family who experiences what they believe is malpractice or medical negligence should consult with an attorney to determine if pursuing the case is in their best interest.

Source: Cumberland Times, “Jury renders multi-million verdict in malpractice lawsuit,” Matthew Bieniek, Oct. 25, 2013