A Florida jury awarded the family such a huge amount because it involves a child’s cerebral palsy birth injury due to a mistake by the hospital. In another brain injury cerebral palsy case that garnered national attention, parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Protestant Memorial Medical Center in Chicago and their doctor last December 2011 (St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-667). Lance and Jennifer Schneider claimed that their daughter has permanent disabilities and complications such as disfigurement and impaired hearing capacity due to a hypoxic brain injury that occurred during the birthing process. In addition to the injury, the lawsuit states that their daughter Sophie has developed an inability to become adequately educated, has suffered an impaired earning capacity and has and will continue to incur medical costs.
In April 2011 a brain injury settlement of more than $21 million dollars was awarded to Tina Graham after jurors found a Pennsylvania Medical Center negligent in a birth injury lawsuit. During the birth, Graham’s son did not receive proper oxygen, which caused him to reposition himself into a breach position. An emergency cesarean was performed but not soon enough to prevent her son from developing cerebral palsy.
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Fortunately birth injuries account for less than two percent of neonatal deaths, but a brain injury like cerebral palsy is, of course, devastating. Thanks to advancements in technology that allow obstetricians to recognize birth trauma risk factors using ultrasonography and fetal monitoring prior to attempting vaginal delivery, brain injuries during birth have declined dramatically. Still, human error is unavoidable.
So many costs have to be taken into account in a brain injury lawsuit. When all costs are considered, the amount of $20 million awarded to Graham’s son does not seem unreasonable.