Family of brain injured boy seeks help enforcing judgment

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A 14-year-old boy was severely brain injured at his birth in 1997 is seeking assistance in enforcing a judgment against the hospital. During the mother’s labor, she was administered Pitocen, a drug used to help induce contractions. The dosage of the drug was periodically increased and not adequately monitored. As a result, the mother began experiencing severe contractions that limited the blood flow to the young boy’s brain.

An emergency C-section was performed to save the infant’s life, but the damage had already been done. The boy was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy, stemming from the lack of oxygen to his brain.

The boy’s parents have tried to give him as normal a life as possible. Until recently, he attended public school. Unfortunately due to budget cuts, the boy’s special tutor was taken away. He is now being home schooled by his mother.

The parents of the boy, now divorced, commenced a lawsuit against the hospital where he was born in 2007. A jury awarded the family a substantial amount in damages. So far the parents haven’t seen a dime of that verdict. Government and public agencies in Florida operate under a liability cap of $200,000.

The family is now lobbying legislators to help them enforce the verdict. Under Florida law, individuals can sue the immunity-protected agencies and juries can award a verdict greater than the cap. Then the individuals can appeal to the Legislature to authorize the larger payment. Finally the governor must sign off on the authorization.

The parents of the boy are in need of the money that would be provided by the jury verdict. Their son is in need of a new wheelchair. His mother could also use some part-time home help, in education and health care. Her son is growing bigger and he is almost too heavy for to get in and out of bed.

Recovery caps take power away from juries, an essential part of the judicial process. Injured persons and their families are unable to collect the damages that the justice system has determined that they are entitled to.

Source: Naples News “Family seeks Legislature’s help in receiving $30 million judgment vs. Lee Memorial,” LIZ FREEMAN, Sept. 16, 2011

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