Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania birth injury case results in $78.5 million verdict

The jury has just come back in a Pennsylvania court with a verdict of $78.5 million concerning a birth injury case. In what is claimed to be one of the largest verdicts in Pennsylvania history, a hospital was sued because the child suffered severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy due to a possible 81-minute delay in performing an emergency cesarean section.

The plaintiffs in this matter claimed that the enormity of the problem was not understood until it was too late as the ultrasound performed by the attending physician was asserted to been done on outdated and poorly maintained equipment. This physician apparently at one point told the mother than the baby had died, which turned out to be incorrect.

Though the physician consistently testified that the ultrasound procedure was performed correctly, a hospital manager testified that the equipment had not been serviced in over a decade. Also, no ultrasound technician was present while the child was being born because the birth took place on a Sunday.

Considering the size of the verdict, it is not surprising that the hospital is planning on appealing the case. As in most litigation matters, the process will likely be long before any money actually changes hands. It's always important for attorneys representing injured clients to understand the entire process. Attorneys are always kept busy in such matters because of all of the legal maneuvers that take place by counsel for the hospitals.

Yet when all is said and done, $78.5 million is not such an extravagant verdict when one considers what this child will have to go through during its life. The child is paralyzed and brain damaged, will require constant daily and medical care and will likely be confined to a wheelchair and bed. No amount of money will ever make up for that type of suffering and any compensation received will mostly be spent on care.

Source: The Mercury, "$78.5M malpractice award against Pottstown hospital may be among state's largest," by Evan Brandt, May 4, 2012

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