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Court: Birth injury caused cerebral palsy, merits $20.6 million

When an infant comes into the world with a substantial injury or medical condition, there are several factors that could have caused it. Negligence during birth in North Adams can lead to serious consequences that may have lifelong repercussions, as one Maryland family has learned after a medical error took a toll on their son.

In 2002, a woman went to a hospital while she was 32 weeks pregnant. Physicians determined that she and the baby had high blood pressure, and they made the decision to induce labor even though it was eight weeks before her due date. In a lawsuit filed in 2011, the family states that while the mother was in labor, doctors noticed that the baby was low on oxygen due to the reading on the fetal heart rate monitor. The family claims that the condition should have merited an immediate Cesarean-section delivery, but the physician allowed the labor to continue for three hours.

The infant was born with the umbilical cord around his neck, and he developed a form of cerebral palsy that will cause him to use a wheelchair for his entire life. The hospital argued that the vital signs demonstrated that the infant had not been deprived of oxygen. However, a jury sided with the family, awarding them $21 million. The hospital appealed the decision, but the appeals court upheld the award.

Due to Maryland’s caps on non-economic damages, the award was reduced to $20.6 million. No amount of money can undo the physical pain and suffering the boy has incurred. However, victims of medical malpractice may feel justice has been served when negligent parties are held financially responsible. People who have suffered a serious injury as a result of a medical error should consult with an attorney.

Source: The Daily Record, “CSA affirms $20.6M award in birth-injury case,” Steve Lash, Sept. 26, 2014 

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