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Despite the many advancements in modern medical science, human imperfection has a tendency to intervene and can cause serious problems. Doctors and nurses, because of their professional skill and knowledge, are nonetheless held to a high standard of care. Under the law, they are expected to exercise reasonable care in providing treatment to all of their patients. When medical professionals breach, or fail to execute this duty, they may be held liable for the potentially devastating consequences of their actions.
In April of 2003, the lives of a young boy and his family were irreversibly harmed. Alijah Jones, now eleven-years old, suffers from cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, visual impairments and other developmental issues. The cause of these severe medical conditions, sadly, was a mistake made by the attending physician during Alijah’s birth.
In March of 2003, Alijah’s mother Stephanie Stewart was 36-years-old and was 24 weeks pregnant. Eleven years prior, Stephanie had given birth to her first child by way of caesarian (“C”) section. Unexpectedly, Stephanie began having problems with her pregnancy with Alijah. She was admitted to the MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio for premature labor three times. On each of these occasions, doctors were able to prevent the premature delivery of her baby with medication and bed rest. Stephanie’s doctor then advised her that her baby would have to be delivered by caesarian section.
On April 10 at around 12:30 pm, Stephanie’s water broke and she was again brought to the MetroHealth Hospital. She requested that the baby be delivered by caesarian section, but the attending nurses disagreed about whether or not this was safe. Dr. Steven Weight, a hospital obstetrician, arrived in Stephanie’s room at around 5:30 pm and told her that the baby looked healthy enough to deliver normally. She protested against this, and continued to ask for a caesarian section.
Around 9:00 pm that night, the baby showed signs of distress in the womb, and a caesarian section was finally performed. However, the baby had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, leaving him permanently disfigured and disabled.
Incensed and saddened at the injuries to her son, Stephanie filed a lawsuit in 2004 against the MetroHealth Hospital and Dr. Weight. Although the original medical malpractice lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, the case was refiled in 2011. The case has recently reached a verdict in favor of Stephanie and young Alijah. Evidence used by Stephanie’s attorneys at trial showed that the distress of the infant just after 5:30 pm was the ultimate cause of the brain hemorrhage, and that Dr. Weight had improperly diagnosed the problem.
Given Stephanie’s prolonged history of labor issues, the jury concluded that both Dr. Weight and the hospital were liable for the injuries that Alijah suffered during birth. The jury awarded $8 million for the cost of future care, $5 million for pain and suffering, $1 million for Stewart’s cost of services, and $500,000 for past economic losses. In sum, Stephanie and Alijah will receive $14.5 million in damages.
For innocent children like Alijah, these types of birth injuries can be devastating and sometimes life-threatening. The challenges, however, are not limited to physical impairments. The medical and future care costs can be astronomical, especially with conditions such as cerebral palsy. In addition, the pain and anguish felt by the families can be daunting.
If you or your loved one have been injured or killed in a medical malpractice or birth-related incident, please contact our Boston medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury attorneys for your free and confidential consultation. We will work strenuously to see that you receive just and fair compensation for all of your injuries. Call us, 24/7, at 617-787-3700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your needs are our top priority!