Supplemental Verdict Digest
$21,600,000 VERDICT - MEDICAL MALPRACTICE - OB/GYN - NURSING - FAILURE TO MONITOR BOTH HEART RATES OF TWINS DURING DELIVERY - BRAIN DAMAGE TO A NEWBORN CHILD - CEREBRAL PALSY.
Erie County, PA
In this medical malpractice case, a family sued on behalf an infant who suffered cerebral palsy after a botched delivery. The jury delivered a subsequent landmark $21.6 million verdict against the hospital. The delivery occurred on November 13, 2006, when the plaintiff, 26, presented at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania, for the scheduled induction of labor. The plaintiff was pregnant with twins, a girl and a boy. The nurse midwife administered Cervidil to induce labor. The midwife, defendant obstetrician and the nursing staff proceeded with the labor. However, for reasons that formed the center of the dispute, the staff did not continually monitor both of the fetal heart rates. A nurse delivered the first twin, a girl, while the ob/gyn was getting into position. During the delivery of the second child, the fetus shifted into a breech position. The birth of the boy was delayed by twenty minutes until the obstetrician and midwife performed an emergency C-section. Thereafter, the ob/gyn noticed signs of metabolic acidosis in the infant boy and placed him in the neonatal ICU, where he suffered a seizure approximately two hours later. He was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy brought on by oxygen deprivation.
The parties reached an agreement pre-trial on a high/low. No pre-trial settlement offer was made by the defense. The high in this case was $33 million, comprised of Hamot Medical’s $31 million policy lim- its and Dr. Townsend’s $2 million limits. The low was $5.75 million. The jury deliberated for four hours be- fore returning with a verdict for the plaintiff. They found Hamot, now UPMC Hamot, 100% negligent by way of the nursing staff’s failure to monitor the infant’s fetal heart rate and other vital signs. No negligence was attributed to the co-defendants Dr. Townsend, M.D., and the midwife nurse.
Graham vs. Hamot, et al. Case no. 12229-2008; Judge Ernest J. DiSantis, Jr., 04-20-11.
Attorney for plaintiff: Shanin Specter of Kline Specter in Philadelphia, PA. Attorney for defendant Hamot Medical Center: David R. Johnson of Thomson Rhodes & Cowie in Pittsburgh, PA. Attorney for defendant Dr. Mark E. Townsend: Shannon Poliziani of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin in Pittsburgh, PA. Attorney for defendant Christine Hornstein: Steven J. Forry of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin in Pittsburgh, PA.
$10,500,000 VERDICT - MEDICAL MALPRACTICE - ANESTHESIOLOGY - IMPROPER USE OF LARYNGEAL MASK AIRWAY RESULTING IN AN UNPROTECTED AIRWAY - ASPIRATION OF STOMACH CONTENTS LEADING TO ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISTRESS - COMA IN 44-YEAR-OLD FEMALE - NERVE DAMAGE.
New London County, CT
In this medical malpractice matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist was negligent in failing to use due care during the administration of anesthesia to the plaintiff which resulted in the plaintiff suffering acute respiratory distress syndrome and becoming comatose. The defendant denied that there was any deviation from acceptable standards of care.
Karla Rosa vs. Anesthesia Associates of New London. Case no. KNL-CV-08-5006331-S; Judge Emmet Cosgrove, 05-13-11.
Attorney for plaintiff: Sean K. McElligott of Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, P.C. in Bridgeport, CT. Attorney for defendant: Robert Cooney of Williams Cooney & Sheehy in Trumbull, CT.
The matter was tried and at the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The plaintiff was awarded the sum of $10,500,000 in damages.
The following digest is a composite of additional significant verdicts reported in full detail in our companion publications. Copies of the full summary with analysis can be obtained by contacting our Publication Office.
New York Jury Verdict Review & Analysis