Couple Receives $55 Million in Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Case

On June 25, a Baltimore, Md. jury granted a couple a $55 million dollar award in a medical malpractice case against Johns Hopkins Hospital for birth injuries due to its failure to perform an emergency cesarean section (c-section) in time. The hospital plans to appeal the decision.

The mother of the injured child had begun labor at home with a midwife and her husband at her side when the baby became stuck. She was rushed to Johns Hopkins in an ambulance where the doctors waited two hours before ordering the emergency c-section. The child was born with extreme developmental disorders.

The lawyer for the couple contended that the delay was not “common sense” under the emergency circumstances, and, apparently, the jury agreed. The hospital stated that although it empathized with the parents, it provided the appropriate standard of care and should not be liable for the birth injuries.

If an emergency c-section is needed and not done promptly, a baby can suffer numerous serious health complications and may need life-long specialized care. Some of the possible defects that can arise when a c-section is not performed in a timely manner are:

  • Skull and bone fractures
  • Damage to the spine
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Swelling and bruising of the brain
  • Seizures
  • Limb or face paralysis
  • Internal damage

Most likely, for Johns Hopkins to succeed on appeal, it must demonstrate that the jury erred in its decision that the two hours the mother waited for the c-section was a violation of the standard of care in the medical industry.

Source:, “Jury Awards Family $55 Million In Medical Malpractice Suit,” Phil Yacuboski, June 26, 2012

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