When a baby in the womb did not have a pulse and was not receiving oxygen for thirteen minutes during delivery four years ago, resulting in the baby suffering permanent brain damage requiring constant medical care for the rest of his life, without explanation as to what had occurred, the parents filed a Colorado medical malpractice lawsuit in 2010 against the hospital, alleging that the hospital’s doctor and medical staff negligently failed to timely respond to signs that the baby was in distress in the womb.
The parents thought that their medical malpractice claims were strong and that a jury would side with them. However, after a four-week trial, the Colorado medical malpractice jury found in favor of the defendant. The defendant’s attorneys subsequently filed a “bill of cost” with the trial court, seeking to recover legal fees and expenses from the parents because they lost.
Some of the expenses that the defendant sought from the parents were for dinners and room service charges in the amount of $999.06 for one of the defendant’s experts who testified during trial, the cost for a car service incurred by a defendant’s expert and for the expert’s airline transportation to and from trial, and the expenses incurred by the defendant’s witnesses for ice cream, frozen yogurt, coffee, and snacks. The defendant’s bill of cost also included its attempt to be paid by the plaintiffs for a $250 fine incurred by a nurse named in the medical malpractice lawsuit who was caught smoking in her hotel room (that charge was subsequently removed from the defendant’s bill of cost after the plaintiffs objected to the charge).
A judge has ordered the parents to pay the hospital $340,000 for its costs in defending the medical malpractice lawsuit under a Colorado law that permits the prevailing party to recover its out-of-pocket costs. In response, the mother has stated, “We didn’t really receive an explanation. It was just that he didn’t breathe or have a heart rate for 13 minutes. No one really told us what happened. We didn’t actually believe that we would lose, let alone somebody going after a family with a severely disabled child. I wanted to have faith people had more compassion than that. Knowing what I know now, I would still fight for Noah. He’s absolutely worth it. I wouldn’t discourage somebody from doing the same. I just want them to be aware the same thing could happen to them.”
The parents have indicated that they will have to file bankruptcy as a result of the $340,000 costs they are responsible to pay to the defendant hospital.
Despite the unfortunate result in the Colorado medical malpractice case discussed above, if you or a loved one were injured as a result of possible medical malpractice in Colorado or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in Colorado or in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with Colorado medical malpractice lawyers (or medical malpractice lawyers in your state) who may be able to assist you with your malpractice claim. You may also reach us on our toll-free line (800-295-3959).
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