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Pennsylvania medical malpractice verdict for $78.5 million

A jury verdict of $78.5 million was rendered in Pennsylvania concerning the birth injuries leading to cerebral palsy. The injuries that led to this malady came about possibly because of an 81-minute delay before a cesarean section was performed.

It appears that the child was deprived of oxygen during labor and such a complication could have been alleviated if prompt action by the medical staff had been taken. This physician apparently at one point incorrectly told the mother than the baby had died which resulted in this delay. However a later ultrasound detected a fetal heartbeat that finally prompted the staff to perform the cesarean section procedure.

The jury felt that the hospital rather than the doctor was at fault. The attorney for the parents alleged that a trained ultrasound technician should have been on staff and that the ultrasound equipment used by the hospital was outdated. Such precautions may have prevented such a tragedy from ever occurring.

Though $78.5 million is an extremely large as far as jury verdicts go, one also needs to consider the nature of the child's injuries. Cerebral palsy will deprive the child of the most basic pleasures in life and will place severe limitations upon the child's activities.

The child will require constant daily and medical care and most children with this condition are confined to a wheelchair or bed for their entire life. No amount of money can ever compensate anyone for this type of suffering as such compensation awarded will mostly be spent on care.

Source: Philly.com, "Phila. Jury awards $78.5M in medical malpractice case," by Chris Mondics, May 6, 2012

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