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Girl who suffered brain damage at birth gets millions from jury

A young girl was awarded $32.8 million by a jury because she was born at a hospital and suffered from brain damage due to two nurses who were found to be negligent when they were caring for the girl's pregnant mother.

It took nine hours for the jury to deliberate on the case of a girl who has been diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The jury agreed that when the baby's heart rate changed significantly during labor, the nurses failed to notify the doctor over the dangerous indicator of something going wrong. Delays in the delivery and the failure to mention the major change in heart rate resulted in the girl suffering brain damage.

The jury found that the hospital was not negligent; a third nurse who was present was also found not to be negligent in the case. The two nurses who were involved in the medical negligence aren’t associated with the hospital anymore.

When the girl’s mother went to the hospital in November 2009, there were no complications associated with her pregnancy. When she was admitted to the hospital to give birth, she was close to her due date, so the baby was not born particularly early or late.

During the delivery, the baby started with a normal and healthy heart rate of 150 beats per minute and then dropped to a dangerous 60 beats per minute. However, the doctor wasn’t informed of this development. When she went into the room to check on the mother, she noticed the dangerous heart rate and immediately ordered an emergency cesarean section. It is said that if the baby had been born just 15 minutes earlier, she likely would have had minimal brain damage. The result of this lawsuit shows how people harmed by medical errors may be able to collect compensation.

Source: Delaware County Daily Times, "Jury Gives $32.M to Girl in Chesco Medical Malpractice Case," Michael P. Rellahan, Jan. 22, 2014

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