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Jury Awards $53M in Birth Injury Malpractice Suit

On behalf of Joel Rhine of Rhine Law Firm, P.C. posted July 28, 2016

Lawsuits involving well-known academic hospitals and brain-injured patients rarely result in a jury trial. Often, birth injury claims are settled via mediation, or in other more private ways, so as not to tarnish the reputation of a prestigious medical center. However, a recent verdict awarded millions in restitution to a mother and may give hope to readers in North Carolina who are facing similar circumstances.

In this case, a renowned medical institution was on trial because of the brain injury a boy endured during his birth. According to the lawsuit, the hospital was accused of 20 alleged missteps between the time that the boy’s mother arrived at the hospital and when she gave birth to her son. The mother came to the hospital when she was 40 weeks pregnant because she felt significantly less movement from her baby.

The lawsuit alleges that the hospital’s physicians failed to detect the abnormal fetal heart rate patterns that indicated the baby’s distress. In addition, the doctors did not follow the appropriate chain of command and did not perform a cesarean section in a timely manner. The abnormal fetal heart rate readings could have indicated to physicians that the baby was experiencing hypoxia, which is a potentially dangerous drop in oxygen supply.

While the hospital attributed the child’s cerebral palsy to an infection, the lawsuit alleges that it was a result of a brain injury that the child received after being starved for oxygen. After a jury awarded the family a $53 million settlement, the hospital attempted to obtain a mistrial on the basis that the plaintiff’s lawyer used inflammatory language and propaganda in order to influence the jury. The mistrial motion was recently dismissed.

When facing such a tragedy, victims and/or victims’ family members in North Carolina could benefit from speaking with an attorney regarding the circumstances of their cases. An attorney who has experience in birth injury litigation can discuss the unique specifics of the case and recommend the best way to seek reparation. A potential financial award could assist victims and their families in ensuring that their loved ones have the specialized care that they require in order to lead the most fulfilling and productive lives possible.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “U. of C. hospital fails to get mistrial on case involving $53M verdict“, Becky Yerak, July 12, 2016

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