On April 15, 2013, a New York medical malpractice jury awarded $130 million to the now ten-year-old medical malpractice victim who suffered severe brain damage and resulting cerebral palsy because of alleged medical malpractice that occurred when a hospital nurse failed to properly monitor her during her birth in 2002 and failed to diagnose that she was not getting enough oxygen to her brain. As a result of her brain injury, the little girl cannot walk (she spends the day in her wheelchair) or speak and will need round-the-clock medical care for the rest of her life.
What makes this medical malpractice verdict (the second highest medical malpractice verdict in New York) all the more satisfying for the family of the little girl who is permanently trapped inside a body that does not work properly is the fact that the plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawyer had tuned down an $8 million settlement offer (with her parents’ consent since that amount would not even pay for their daughter’s medical expenses) that preceded the first jury trial in the case in 2009 that ended with a defense verdict, which was successfully appealed. The initial retrial during 2012 ended in a mistrial when the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. The second retrial began in March 2013 and resulted in the long-delayed justice for the little girl and her family.
According to the plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawyer, ““She (the cerebral palsy victim) cannot walk and she cannot speak. But she hears and understands and is exquisitely aware of everything that is going on around her.”
Shortly after the first medical malpractice trial that resulted in the verdict in favor of the defendant hospital, a hospital lawyer criticized the plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawyer in the press by stating, “I’m not aware of another attorney who’s turned down an $8 million offer and got shut out.” After the $130 million jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff last week, the same hospital lawyer stated, “We have some issues with how [the plaintiffs’ lawyer] conducted the trial. We have certain rules of professional conduct and they were violated,” alleging that the plaintiffs’ lawyer called one of the hospital’s expert witnesses a liar in front of the jury.
We applaud the perseverance and dedication of the plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawyer: he rejected a large but insufficient $8 million settlement offer and then successfully appealed a discouraging adverse medical malpractice jury verdict, and ultimately pressed on through two retrials in order to obtain justice for the innocent victim of medical malpractice.
We have compassion for the little girl’s parents who must have endured their own second-guessing of their decision to reject the $8 million settlement offer after the first jury failed to deliver justice for their daughter. The stress and burden that rested on the parents’ shoulders during the appellate process and waiting for the results of the two retrials must have been overwhelming – their fear that their little girl may be denied the security of a sufficient verdict to take care of her needs for the rest of her life due to the devastating injuries that she suffered solely as a result of the medical negligence of the hospital’s staff.
It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. In this case, perhaps the amount of justice delivered by the jury may help alleviate the harms caused by the delay in obtaining justice.
If you or a family member may be the victim of medical malpractice in New York or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly seek the advice of a New York medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state to protect your legal rights and to obtain justice for the harms you suffered.
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