On August 23, 2013, an Indiana medical malpractice jury awarded $15 million to the family of a newborn who suffered severe brain damage and developed cerebral palsy allegedly as a result of medical negligence that occurred at a local hospital. The Indiana cap on damages in medical malpractice cases will result in the verdict being reduced to $1.25 million, which the plaintiffs’ lawyer lamented “It’s not a cap. It’s an ax. Calling it a cap is polite.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney has indicated his intention to challenge the constitutionality of the Indiana cap on medical malpractice damages – the plaintiffs responsibility to pay for lifetime medical care related to their now 9-year-old child is not subject to a cap and the expenses are calculated to be between $5 million and $10 million over the child’s lifetime.
The Indiana medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that during the mother’s pregnancy in 2003, the defendants conducted a fetal blood sampling procedure in the hospital at 33-weeks gestational age with inadequate staffing and without the use of continuous ultrasound guidance during the procedure. As a result, repeated attempts were made to correctly insert the needle into the umbilical cord. The malpractice allegations included the failure to obtain appropriate consent for the procedure and the failure to terminate the elective procedure when necessary. The baby evidently suffered fetal distress that the defendants allegedly failed to recognize and that required immediate delivery of the baby.
The baby was born in September 2003. She requires constant nursing care because she has cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs, she must be fed by a tube, she is wheelchair bound, and she is unable to talk.
The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and against a treating physician and the hospital, but found in favor of the defendant anesthesiologist. The hospital has stated its disagreement with the verdict and may file an appeal.
This Indiana medical malpractice case is a prime example of the injustice, unfairness, and inequality of caps (limits) on the damages that innocent victims of medical malpractice may recover from their negligent medical providers whom juries have determined to have committed malpractice and to be the cause of their victims’ life-long debilitating injuries. The parents of the Indiana child must pay millions of dollars out of their own pockets for the constant care that their child will need for the rest of her life, or the taxpayers of Indiana will have to pay the enormous bills if the parents cannot pay, yet the wrongdoers who were solely responsible for the catastrophic damages are unjustly and inequitably granted impunity for their failure to provide care that met the standard of care required under the circumstances.
Why should negligent medical providers be granted special financial benefits and treatment that directly harms their medical malpractice victims?
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of possible medical malpractice in Indiana or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advice of an Indiana medical malpractice attorney (or a local medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with Indiana medical malpractice lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers in your U.S. state who may assist you with your malpractice claim. You may also reach us toll-free at 800-295-3959.
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