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

Plaintiff in birth injury case allowed to attend own trial

Though it didn't occur in Pennsylvania, an interesting medical malpractice ruling recently came down. The case concerns the right of a purported victim of medical malpractice - in this case, a young girl - to be able to attend the trial that is being conducted on her behalf.

The child suffers from severe cerebral palsy that is claimed to be a result of medical malpractice. Cerebral palsy often results from birth injuries suffered while the mother is in labor, and instances of such injuries are the result of doctors not taking the proper steps to prevent these injuries from occurring.

The above case is extremely sad due to the extent of the child's disabilities. The child - now 13-years old - is continuously confined to a wheelchair, lives with a feeding tube inserted into her stomach, must have her airway suctioned continually, is unable to speak and frequently suffers from seizures.

Not without reason, the hospital may fear that the girl's presence in court will elicit sympathy from the jury. Though the trial court originally ruled against allowing the girl to appear, the Supreme Court for the state in which the case was tried felt that exclusion of any party from trial was "an exceptional event in this state."

All medical malpractice cases - and in particular, birth injury cases - are complex. As the above case demonstrates, such cases can be complicated concerning the manner in which such cases should be tried as well.

Attorneys that have practiced in the area of medical malpractice understand all of the back and forth that will take place during such a trial. Such attorneys will also be prepared to handle any defenses that medical providers will raise.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Court says disabled child can attend trial," by Bill Rankin, June 18, 2012

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