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Cerebral palsy lawsuit: Jury finding of $55M in damages

Parents of a baby born with cerebral palsy are often unsure what caused their child to suffer the condition. Sometimes the cause is unknown or unclear, but in other cases - such as the one below - it is obvious that medical negligence caused cerebral palsy.

A woman visited the hospital when her labor contractions began, but she didn't birth a healthy baby boy as she anticipated. The doctor and hospital staff failed to act on signs of fetal distress and didn't perform a c-section when it was in the best interests of the mother and infant.

Instead, the obstetrician used vacuum extraction to remove the baby from the birth canal, a technique that caused further oxygen deprivation to the child. The oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, caused the baby to suffer irreversible brain damage.

Today, the child is four years old and suffers from not only physical disability, but has developmental disabilities as well, including speech.

A jury was clearly convinced that the hospital and doctor were both at fault for the birth injury and found the victim to be entitled to $55 million in damages. The actual damages that the family receives will be less, as the parties agreed to a settlement shortly before the jury announced its findings.

$55 million may seem like an astronomical sum, but consider the high cost of healthcare and assisted living. While the young victim has severe disabilities, he will likely live a long life and his special needs and accommodations will be extremely costly.

Source::Legal Examiner, "Lehigh County Jury Awards $55 Million In Birth Injury Lawsuit," Eric T. Chaffin, Feb. 3, 2014

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