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Brain injury leads to $14.5 million medical malpractice award

An Ohio hospital and a physician whom it employed have been held jointly liable for injuries suffered by an infant when a delayed delivery resulted in a devastating brain injury. The injury has led to serious, life-long disabilities for the boy, who is now 11. The child and his mother were recently awarded $14.5 million, including $8 million for the anticipated cost of care over the lifetime of the boy.

The lawsuit arose from facts that began in 2003, when the expectant mother went to the hospital to deliver her baby. The mother, who had been in and out of the hospital on multiple prior occasions with labor pains, asked on her final visit that her infant be delivered promptly, but medical staff disagreed. 

By the time they realized that the baby was having problems and performed an emergency delivery by cesarean section, it was too late to prevent the occurrence of a brain hemorrhage. Although the newborn survived, he will suffer for the rest of his life with cerebral palsy and other debilitating medical conditions.

The prolonged period from the time of the injury to the jury award -- more than a decade -- shows that anyone who believes that he or she has been victim of a medical mistake, be it from a misdiagnosis to medical professional negligence, should not easily give up on the prospect of receiving compensation. In this case, the lawsuit had been dismissed in 2006 but the family was able to re-file the suit in 2011.

Not all doctor error or hospital negligence cases take as long as this one did to resolve, but they can be lengthy due to the complexities of medical malpractice claims. In most cases having the assistance of an attorney can help victims and their families understand their rights and work toward a successful resolution.

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Garfield Heights boy and mother awarded $14.5 million in malpractice case," Karen Farkas, June 13, 2014

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