Yesterday a jury delivered a $3 million dollar verdict in a birth injury case after it determined that the midwife had not met her standard of care when overseeing the birth. After the nine day trials the jury deliberated for about four hours and returned with a split verdict.
The infant in the case is now ten years old and is severely disabled. She is not able to walk or communicate verbally. She also lost her sight and requires a feeding tube for nourishment. She has significant cognitive impairments.
The main issue in the case was whether the disabilities were fully attributable to a rare genetic condition or that the alleged negligence of the midwife contributed to the child's disabilities.
During the birth a fetal monitor indicated that was a problem. The representative for the child explained that a lack of oxygen during that time must have lead to the severe injuries suffered by the infant.
While the jury determined that the midwife did not properly follow the standard of care and that this led to the injuries, it rejected a claim from the mother asserting that the distress resulted in her own mental instability which lasted for several years. They also rejected a claim that the hospital where the birth took place had represented the midwife as its agent.
The jury award represented $2.3 million for future medical care for the girl who will likely require full time treatment for her entire life. $345,000 for past medical expenses and $500,000 for the girls impairment and loss of enjoyment of life.
Source: The Sun Journal "Jury awards $3M in medical malpractice case" Christopher Williams, June 30, 2011