As New York legislators consider placing a cap on medical malpractice pain and suffering claims, one family in another state received a $58 million award in their medical malpractice suit, the largest in state history.
The family claims that their 8-year-old son developed cerebral palsy as a result of brain damage caused by an obstetrician delaying the child’s delivery. The family’s attorney explained that the award marks a major victory for the family, and much of the will be used to help care for the severely disabled boy.
The case dates back to 2003 when the boy was born. The family argues that although the mother’s amniotic fluid dropped to a level that should have prompted delivery, the doctor waited several days. Even once the doctor finally delivered the child via a Caesarian section, the procedure was performed incorrectly.
Experts confirm that cerebral palsy is typically caused by injuries or abnormalities in the brain while infants are still in the womb. The condition ranges in severity, but in this case, the child cannot eat, speak or walk. He also suffers from regular seizures.
According to court records, $8 million of the awarded sum is to be used to pay for the boy’s medical expenses, while the rest was awarded for pain and suffering. The doctor’s attorney argued that the family’s case lacked hard evidence, claiming that the boy’s condition cannot be attributed to the doctor’s performance. The doctor plans to appeal the ruling in the near future.
Source: Huffington Post, “Family Gets $58 Million In Record-Breaking Malpractice Suit,” 26 May 2011