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$29.89 million medical malpractice award in birth injury case

A jury in a Massachusetts Superior Court medical malpractice case awarded a family almost $30 million for the birth injury the girl suffered in 2004. The girl, who is now 11 years old, suffered permanent and severe brain damage.

The mother came to the hospital in 2004 because she felt her baby wasn't moving as she was supposed to. She was 28 weeks pregnant and was admitted to the hospital. The doctor was called, but he didn't come into the hospital. The lawsuit alleged that a cesarean section should have been performed then. About four hours after the mother was admitted, the baby had an extremely low heartbeat for eight minutes. A cesarean was then performed, but the baby had to be resuscitated. Her brain injury resulted from a lack of blood flow and oxygen.

The medical malpractice lawsuit was initially filed against half a dozen doctors who were involved in the girl's birth. Four of those doctors were not found negligent by the jury. Another one had been removed from the case earlier. The attending physician was the doctor found negligent.

The award was broken down into several categories, including past and future medical care, lost earning capacity and loss of enjoyment of life. The girl is legally blind, cannot walk or talk, has a tracheotomy and has to be fed through a tube.

When a doctor is negligent, his or her patient has a right to seek compensation for injuries or illness that were the result. If the patient, including unborn babies, died as a result of the doctor's negligent actions, the family may elect to pursue compensation. An attorney can provide information on how such a case would proceed.

Source: MassLive.com, "Jury awards nearly $30 million to Holyoke family, says doctor's negligence caused baby's permanent brain damage," Buffy Spencer, Feb. 05, 2016

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