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Medical malpractice award of $53 million rendered by jury

It is reasonable to expect that some of the largest settlements and jury verdicts in medical negligence cases in Louisiana and elsewhere come in the birth delivery and birth injury cases. One factor is that when a child is permanently disabled for life as a result of medical malpractice there is a need to provide professional care to the child for a lifetime. Another factor is the need to add the cost of future medical bills for treatment, medication, rehabilitation and potential surgeries for the remainder of the victim's life.

In one case recently decided, the jury returned a verdict of $53 million in a birth injury case. The award was to a mother and her 12-year-old son for brain damage caused to the son in an allegedly botched birth of the boy at the defendant hospital. The plaintiff alleged that the doctors ignored her condition when she arrived in April 2004 with fetal discomfort.

Tests were not taken, and the medical providers failed to properly monitor the fetal heart rate patterns, according to the suit. If they had done so, the plaintiffs contended, and the jury agreed, that they would have found hypoxia indicating that the child was suffocating for lack of oxygen. It was also alleged that the brain damage could have been averted if a timely C-section had been performed.

The hospital claimed that the child had an infection and the beginning of cerebral palsy prior to the treatment at the hospital. However, the jury's agreement with the plaintiff's assertions had to be supported by adequate evidence presented at trial. It is likely that the plaintiff presented physicians who are experts in their field to debunk the hospital's argument and testify to medical malpractice. The jury awarded almost $29 million for future caretaking expenses and another $7 million for future medical bills, which supports the fact that child birth settlements and verdicts in Louisiana and all other states are usually designed to cover huge expenses for future care.

Source: Palos, IL Patch, "Family Wins $53 Million for Brain-Damaged Son", Lauren Traut, June 30, 2016

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