A 17-year-old girl recently won more than $100 million in damages against the hospital where she was born. Because the hospital has since gone bankrupt, the teen will only recover a fraction of the damages award, about $16 million. Either figure may initially seem lofty, but it must be put into context.
Stephanie Debes was born three months premature after a New York hospital failed to recognize her mother’s contractions and discharged her. Because the hospital staff didn’t diagnose the preterm contractions, the mother went into labor soon after and gave premature birth to twin girls.
Stephanie suffered severe cerebral palsy and is now wheelchair bound. Her twin sister escaped serious birth injuries, so Stephanie sees a daily view of what an able-bodied teenage girl’s life is like. It’s a difficult thing for a child to deal with: her sister goes out with friends on weekends while Stephanie stays home. The trial court jury sympathized with Stephanie’s plight, as evidenced by the $77 million it awarded her for past and present pain and suffering.
Although new technology is slowly improving the quality of life for cerebral palsy patients, no gadgetry can replace the value of a healthy body. A lawsuit damages award can’t either, but it can provide the resources necessary for a cerebral palsy victim to enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling life.
If you or your child has cerebral palsy and you believe medical negligence may be to blame, contact an experienced Ohio birth injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Source: New York Post, “Family Of SI Cerebral Palsy Teens Wins $100M Lawsuit Against Birth Hospital,” Josh Saul, Aug. 25, 2012