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Court to decide if disabled girl can be present during med mal trial: Part 2

As discussed in the previous post, a birth injury case currently making its way through the courts of another state deals with complicated issues of whether a disabled person who is at the heart of the case should be allowed to remain in the courtroom during the trial.

According to a recent article in the Daily Report, an appellate court ruled earlier that the girl could not stay in the courtroom because the jury might see her and make a decision in the case based on emotion instead of on the facts of the birth injury case.

The parents of the girl argue in the case that the girl's cerebral palsy was caused by obstetrician error. The parents say that the obstetrician should have ordered a C-section sooner, and the delay in ordering the C-section resulted in the girl's brain being deprived of oxygen. The parents argue that this deprivation of oxygen to the girl's brain led to her permanent disabilities.

The parents say that the mother went in to have labor induced. The labor was slow-going and the doctor went to a meeting. The day nurse on duty noticed that the baby's heartbeat was slowing down periodically. She said that she was not concerned.

When the night nurse came on duty, she thought the baby's heartbeat was of concern and paged a doctor who was a partner to the one who went to the meeting. He came immediately and performed the C-section right away. It could be observed on an MRI that the baby's brain was permanently damaged. The parents argue that the damage could have been prevented if the doctor had performed the C-section before going to his meeting.

The Supreme Court of Georgia will now decide whether or not the girl can be in the courtroom while the jury hears her case.

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

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