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Jury verdict of $21M to parents of child with cerebral palsy

For most Pennsylvania parents the day a child is born is one of the most memorable of their lives. After nine long months of pregnancy, the anticipation of getting to meet one's child makes the whole thing worthwhile. For parents of babies who suffer birth injuries however, that day quickly changes from happy to scary as determinations are made about the diagnosis and prognosis of their newly born child's condition.

It is not uncommon for parents who have found themselves in this position to ultimately decide to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the health care providers and in some cases the facility where the child is born. Because injuries incurred at birth often result in a lifetime of expensive medical bills, it is important for many to secure the funds necessary to help cover those bills from those who are responsible for the condition.

Recently, a family in a neighboring state was awarded $21 million in a jury verdict for the cerebral palsy their now 9-year-old son was born with allegedly as a result of lacking oxygen while in the womb. The lawsuit alleged that the medical providers working with the woman should have performed a Caesarean section sooner than they did.

The defendants in the case claimed tests run after the boy's birth indicate that the cerebral palsy was not caused by a deprivation of oxygen, but rather the fact that he was born prematurely. In addition to performing an ultrasound on the baby's brain to check for swelling, they reportedly also did blood tests looking for changes in his blood acids. The defense indicated that neither of these tests pointed to the baby suffering from a deprivation of oxygen while in the womb.

Of the jury verdict award, the majority, $18 million was designated for medical care. $2 million was allocated for lost potential wages and the remaining $1 million for noneconomic pain and suffering. Due to a cap that exists on noneconomic damages, should the verdict stand, the family would receive a total of $20.62 million.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Jury awards Glen Burnie family $21 million in Harbor Hospital medical case," Kevin Rector, July 31, 2012

Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Pennsylvania birth injuries page.

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