A jury has awarded a family $55 million in their lawsuit against a hospital known internationally for its quality of care. The suit began after a couple realized that their son had suffered a brain injury at birth. The injury occurred when the mother was forced to wait two hours for an emergency cesarean section. Because of his extensive mental and physical disabilities, the boy, now 2, will never walk or talk.
The award will be reduced to approximately $29.6 million because of the state's cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. (The hospital is not in Texas.) Instead of the $26 million the jury felt the family deserved, the family will receive $665,000. The entire award will go into a trust fund for the child's benefit.
The hospital did not comment following the verdict, other than to say that the defendants believed the evidence proved they were not negligent. The spokesperson added that the mother and baby received appropriate care at the hospital "given the circumstances." The statement refers to the couple's attempt to have the child at home, with the assistance of a midwife; the hospital maintained that the injury occurred there, not in the emergency room.
The hospital will likely appeal the verdict. In the meantime, the family is planning to build a new house that will have just one story and be more handicap-accessible. Most of the money will go to medical bills not covered by insurance and round-the-clock care for the boy so he can continue to live with his parents.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Jury awards Waverly family $55 million in Hopkins malpractice case," Yvonne Wenger and Kevin Rector, June 26, 2012