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Jury agrees that child suffered brain injury due to negligence

Illinois readers might have seen that a family in another state was recently awarded nearly $30 million in a medical malpractice case. The family of a now 11-year-old girl filed a lawsuit on her behalf alleging that she suffered irreversible damage to her brain due to the negligence of the doctors attending her birth. The brain injury left her unable to talk, walk or feed herself. She also requires a permanent tracheotomy to help her breathe. She will most likely need care for the rest of her life.

The girl's mother went to the hospital on Sept. 5, 2004 at approximately 11 p.m. because her 28 week old fetus was not moving as she had been. The woman was admitted to the hospital for monitoring of her and the baby. Things seemed to be going okay until around 5:30 p.m. the next day.

At that time, the baby's heart rate dropped, but the doctor failed to come in when told. By 9:20 p.m., it was practically non-existent for nearly eight minutes. The baby was clearly in crisis. When the cesarean was performed, the baby had to be rescusitated. Due to an extended lack of blood flow and oxygen, the baby suffered brain damage.

The Massachusetts jury agreed with the family that negligence occurred and entered an award of $29.89 million -- the majority of which is for future care and medical needs. Nearly every parent in Illinois can sympathize with this family's desire to ensure that they are able to care for this young girl for the rest of her life. None of this would be necessary, however, had the doctor not been negligent in his care of the woman and her baby. The brain injury the child suffered might have been prevented, and this verdict could help prevent another tragedy.

Source:, "Jury awards nearly $30 million to Holyoke family, says doctor's negligence caused baby's permanent brain damage", Buffy Spencer, Feb. 5, 2016

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Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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