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Parents to receive small percentage of medical malpractice award

Pennsylvania parents-to-be expect to have a healthy baby. However, excitement can quickly turn to anger and fear when doctors fail to perform medical procedures properly. An Indiana couple recently won a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor who allegedly caused their daughter to be born with cerebral palsy.

Nonetheless, the $15 million award they received will likely be reduced to the state’s cap of $1.25 million. Although this may seem like a lot of money to many people, the child’s lifetime medical expenses are expected to exceed $5 million. In addition, what money the couple will receive will need to go toward lawyer fees and trial costs.

The girl, who was born in Sept. 2003, cannot walk or talk and must be fed through a tube. She now requires 24-hour care after a fetal blood sampling procedure went wrong. A needle unsuccessfully made its way into the fetus’ umbilical cord, causing fetal distress.

Although the couple did win the lawsuit, it has taken eight years. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2005. At that time, a panel of doctors ruled in favor of the doctor. In 2009, a trial resulted in a hung jury. The couple then filed an amended complaint in 2012.

Cerebral palsy can be caused by many factors. In some cases it is caused by the mother, such as through genetics or drug use using pregnancy. Unfortunately, a doctor’s negligence can also cause it. It can sometimes take months or even years to determine that a child is not meeting developmental milestones and has the condition. In any case, doctors have the responsibility to make quick decisions in the event of a complication during delivery.

Source: Evansville Courier & Press, “Evansville couple wins $15 lawsuit against St. Mary’s Medical Center,” Mark Wilson, Aug. 26, 2013.