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Judge Awards $42M to Parents in Traumatic Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Last week, a federal court judge in Pennsylvania awarded a massive $42 million verdict to the parents of a child severely injured during birth in 2012. The multi-million dollar verdict is meant to provide for the child who suffers permanent injuries that will require a lifetime of specialized medical care. Additionally, the award, which is being described as the largest ever medical malpractice verdict out of that judicial district, will be paid out by the federal government as the injury occurred at a federally funded facility.

The bulk of the award, $33 million, is to be set aside for future medical care, which could involve full-time institutionalization as an adult. The rest of the award is meant to compensate for pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, as well as past medical expenses.

What Happened?

The lawsuit alleged that the doctor attending the birth prematurely used forceps multiple times on the infant’s head to pull the infant from the mother’s womb. When the infant was finally out, forceps marks were present on the infant’s face. The pressure from the forceps allegedly caused internal bleeding in the infant’s head, resulting in permanent injuries. Since his birth, he has had to undergo numerous risky surgeries to his brain and spine, and will likely have to undergo more in the future.

The child, who is now five years old, suffers from multiple cognitive issues, including an inability to express himself, though it is reported that he can understand language just fine. Unfortunately though, it is not anticipated that he will ever be able to read or write, and is likely to be confined to an electric wheelchair for life. What’s worse is that behavioral issues may render him too difficult for his parents to care for him into adulthood.

Traumatic Birth Injuries

When an infant is injured during the birthing process due to the negligence of medical staff, both parents and infant may have legal claims for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims can be pursued against hospitals, and doctors and other medical personnel individually.

However, medical malpractice claims are rather nuanced and are subject to various state law requirements, such as providing notice to the doctors or entities a victim wants to sue. Victims really should seek out a legal consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after an injury to ensure that legal deadlines, which can be as short as a few months in some instances, are not missed.

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