Recently, a jury awarded a family $21 million in a lawsuit that claimed negligent care by a Baltimore hospital caused their child to receive a disability. The couple's son was born prematurely with cerebral palsy in 2002, and is now 9 years old. The family's attorney said the child is "literally trapped inside his body" with a fully functioning mind, but a body with severe disabilities.
According to the lawsuit, the family claimed their child lost oxygen while still in the womb, and that medical providers failed to perform a Caesarian section, allowing a prolonged vaginal birth instead.
Another hospital in the area, Johns Hopkins, also lost a similar case earlier this summer. A jury awarded the family a record $55 million to a couple whose son was born with cerebral palsy at the hospital in 2010. The family made a similar claim that their child lost oxygen while still in the womb, and that the medical staff failed to perform a Caesarean section quickly enough.
The breakdown of the award for the family of the nine-year-old is $18 million for his medical care, $2 million for lost potential wages, and $1 million for noneconomic pain and suffering. The family stands to receive $20.6 million due to a cap on noneconomic damages, provided the hospital's appeal fails.
It could be said that everyone makes mistakes, but in the case of a doctor, mistakes can be costly. A doctor is held to a much higher standard of responsibility, as it is his patient's quality of life resting in his hands. Failure to take appropriate action at the right time has the potential to cause great harm. The only remedy available for those who have suffered from medical malpractice is to petition the courts for financial relief.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Jury awards Glen Burnie family $21 million in Harbor Hospital medical case," Kevin Rector, July 31, 2012