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Court to decide if disabled girl can be present during med mal trial: Part 1

A case soon to be heard by the highest court of another state will deal with some difficult and controversial issues in the trying of medical malpractice and birth injury cases. The case involves an 8-year-old girl who is suffering from disabilities that her parents claim were caused by obstetrician errors during the girl's birth.

The girl's parents claim that the obstetrician should have performed a Caesarian section earlier. The parents allege that the failure to perform the C-section early enough resulted in the girl's brain being deprived of oxygen during birth and led to her cerebral palsy.

The current question before the Supreme Court of Georgia in this case is whether or not the girl should be allowed in the courtroom during the trial. An appellate court earlier ruled that the little girl should not be allowed into the courtroom because the judge believed that her presence would lead the jury to make a decision based on emotion, rather than evidence and facts.

The girl now lives with cerebral palsy. Her permanent disabilities require constant 24-hour care. She uses a wheelchair and cannot speak. The doctors have argued that the cerebral palsy was not caused by a delayed C-section and that an earlier C-section was not something that was indicated by medical evidence at the time of the girl's birth.

The next post will further discuss the details of this case.

Source: Law.com, "Case of disabled girl prompts tricky issue," Alyson M. Palmer, Oct. 19, 2011

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