In a decision that is thought to be the largest medical malpractice verdict ever awarded to a plaintiff in this country, a jury in another state ordered doctors associated with a Johns Hopkins hospital to pay a mother and her daughter $229.6 million.
Although the laws of the state will likely reduce this award to closer to $200 million, it still sets the record for the largest medical malpractice verdict. For their part, the medical professionals continue to deny that they were negligent and say they plan to appeal this decision.
The verdict stems from a birth injury that left the child with cerebral palsy, a condition commonly associated with oxygen deprivation during childbirth. Due to the brain damage that resulted from the lack of oxygen, the child now has systemic problems with muscle control and requires constant medical care. The child’s condition is permanent. The mother was only 16 at the time she gave birth.
The jury apparently agreed with the plaintiff’s version of events.
The mother went to the hospital suffering from major preeclampsia, which is a serious complication in pregnancy that can lead to injuries to both the mother and the child.
Eventually, when the child was at 25 weeks’ gestation, doctors induced labor due to the preeclampsia. However, they discouraged the mother from having a Caesarean section delivery, saying it would put the baby at risk of death.
The mother naturally opted for a vaginal delivery, which was complicated and led to the child’s not having enough oxygen. The mother contended that, contrary to medical advice, a C-Section would have been her best option for having a safe delivery and a healthy baby.
Kansas City parents have every right to expect that doctors helping them bring their children in to the world will give them good advice, particularly in a critical situation. If they fail to do so, and an infant gets hurt as a result, then compensation may be available.