Last week, a family was awarded more than $74 million for negligence that resulted in their daughter’s cerebral palsy. The court found that the doctor failed to follow appropriate standards of care during the delivery and that the negligence resulted in the permanent brain damage to the newborn.
The jury said that they case was extremely difficult emotionally and that the evidence directed them to award the family $74,225,000. The damages are intended to cover the medical costs that the family will incur over the course of the girl’s life. According to the lead juror, the family should not have to suffer because of the doctor’s negligence.
According to reports, the baby’s heart rate was fluctuating and the doctor didn’t accelerate the birth or examine the cord blood. The defense argued that mucus blocked the baby’s airway, which caused the loss of oxygen to the infant’s brain during delivery. Jurors stated that the case was about holding the doctor accountable and making sure that American families do not pay the price for medical negligence.
The doctor plans to appeal this case.
While some criticize large compensations made for medical malpractice, there is no price that can be put on the loss of quality of life to the parents and the victims of cerebral palsy. The parents stated that they brought the case to prevent future malpractice and to ensure that their daughter was cared for in the future. The judge does have discretion to reduce damages in this case, which seems likely, according to legal experts.
Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune, “Parents awarded $74 million in malpractice lawsuit against doctor,” Nick Wilson, April 21, 2012.