Reports indicate that a recent medical malpractice award considerably outstrips what a Maryland woman initially sought for a 2014 birth injury that allegedly caused her daughter to develop a debilitating chronic condition. Reduced from $229 million by a state malpractice cap, the $205 million judgment is nevertheless the largest in U.S. history, according to attorneys. The court approved the award in July, and a judge in Baltimore recently upheld it.
The woman’s daughter is now 5 years old and requires around-the-clock care due to cerebral palsy allegedly resulting from lack of oxygen during childbirth. Her attorney claims that the woman declined a cesarean section on the basis of erroneous information from the hospital staff that her baby could not live outside the womb. For their part, medical staff reportedly stopped monitoring the baby’s condition perinatally.
A spokesperson for the hospital tells a different story, alleging that staff informed the woman of all potential risks of her decision and that what she ultimately decided was counter to the recommendations of medical staff. The woman’s attorney states that the staff informed the woman that she could terminate the pregnancy, but it is not clear whether this was part of the recommended care alluded to in the hospital’s statement. The statement does not appear to address the issue of the inaccurate information the woman allegedly received about the fetus’ viability. It does, however, express the hospital’s intention to appeal the ruling.
Assuming that the appeal does not succeed, it is unclear how long the woman will have to wait to receive her award. However, it should be sufficient to provide for the needs of the woman and her daughter indefinitely which, according to the woman’s attorney, appears to have been the jury’s intention. People considering a medical malpractice lawsuit may benefit from a conversation with an attorney.