Brain damage of little girl leads to $32.8M jury verdict

Any Maryland parent would agree that Nov. 14, 2009, should have been the best day of an expectant mother's life. Tragically, the mother believes that negligence on the part of two nurses attending her labor and delivery led to her child being born with brain damage. A jury agreed with the girl's mother and awarded the family $32.8 million in damages.

At some point during the woman's labor, her baby's heartbeat drastically dropped from a normal 150 beats per minute to a mere 60 beats per minute. The two nurses found liable by the jury failed to inform the woman's obstetrician of the baby's diminished heartbeat for nearly 13 minutes. When the doctor came into the room, he immediately noticed the baby was in distress.

An emergency C-section was performed at the Pennsylvania hospital, but it was too late. The baby had already suffered brain damage from the lack of oxygen. Now a toddler, the child walks with extreme difficulty and does not speak more than six words. An expert witness at the trial surmised that if the child had been born just 15 to 17 minutes sooner, her brain damage would have been either minimal or nonexistent.

As would be the case with most Maryland parents, this toddler's parents only want what is best for her. The parents' portion of the jury's award could be used to provide their daughter with the tools necessary to give her the best chance at overcoming at least some of the challenges her brain damage has caused. When medical personnel error during the delivery of a baby leaving the child and/or mother with permanent injury -- or worse, deceased -- a medical malpractice claim may provide the family with restitution.

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