On February 5, 2016, a Massachusetts medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of a now 11-year-old child who was born with catastrophic neurological injuries that the jury found was due to the defendant attending physician’s medical negligence during labor and delivery.
The Massachusetts medical malpractice jury, however, found the other named defendant physicians, all of whom were residents at the time of the birth, not responsible for the child’s birth injuries. The hospital where the birth took place was not named as a defendant.
The child’s birth injuries have resulted in blindness and requires that she be fed through a feeding tube. She is unable to walk or talk. She required a tracheotomy that results in her having to be suctioned many times every hour.
The medical malpractice jury’s verdict in the amount of $29.89 million includes $1.5 million for the child’s past physical and mental pain and suffering, her loss of bodily function, her loss of enjoyment of life, and her other noneconomic damages; $10 million for her future physical and mental pain and suffering, her loss of bodily function, her loss of enjoyment of life, and her other noneconomic damages to age 84; $1.04 million for past medical expenses incurred for the child; $16.1 million for future medical expenses and care needs; and, $1.25 million for her lost earning capacity.
The Underlying Facts
On September 5, 2004, the woman, who was 28-weeks pregnant at the time, went to the hospital because she noticed decreased fetal movement. She was admitted for monitoring and her baby evidently was fine until late in the afternoon the following day, at which time the baby’s heart rate decreased. The defendant attending physician was called at home but he did not come to the hospital. Almost six hours later, the baby’s condition dramatically deteriorated, resulting in her decreased heart rate for eight minutes. The baby was subsequently delivered by Cesarean section delivery, but had to be resuscitated at birth.
The Massachusetts birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the standard of care required that the Cesarean delivery be undertaken earlier, and that as a result in performing the delayed Cesarean delivery, the baby suffered lack of oxygen to her brain that led to her severe and permanent injuries.
After the Massachusetts medical malpractice jury rendered its verdict against his client, the defendant’s attorney stated, “Everyone involved in this situation, including [the defendant], has tremendous empathy for the family. However, this was a very difficult case involving a mother with a complex medical condition and a very premature infant with pre-existing infection. Ultimately, [the defendant] and his team used the best information they were provided and existing medical standards to deliver the best possible care for [the mother and the baby]. We believe the evidence fully supported the care provided by all the doctors, including [the defendant], and was supported by well-qualified experts. [The defendant] remains concerned that this outsized financial judgment sets unfair precedents and leads to troubling implications for all doctors, hospitals, and the future of medical practice as a whole. We are currently evaluating all of our options in this case.”
If you or a loved one suffered a birth injury in Massachusetts or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Massachusetts birth injury lawyer, or a birth injury lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.