In Louisiana and elsewhere, in the event that a condition is misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed, serious medical errors can result. In 2008, a single mother was given the devastating news that her child had passed away in the womb after the mother arrived at a hospital with signs that the child she was carrying may have been oxygen deprived. Doctors concluded that the child was no longer living as the result of an ultrasound that did not detect a fetal heart rate.
A second ultrasound was conducted, which detected a fetal heart rate, negating the previous claim that the child was dead. 81 minutes later, a little boy was born. However, due to the hospital negligence and subsequent delay, the child was born with cerebral palsy. Such a condition comes with a host of difficulties and a life time of steep medical bills.
The mother filed a medical malpractice claim and just less than a week ago, a jury awarded the mother $78.5 million. The jury ruled it was not a case of doctor negligence, but rather hospital negligence due to the antiquate ultrasound equipment that struggled to detect the fetal heart rate.
The damages awarded will aid the single mother of this little boy with cerebral palsy in paying for medical bills and covering lost wages. Additionally, the damages are supposed to give some monetary compensation for the pain and suffering this single mother was forced to endure as a result of this hospital negligence.
Source: Philly.com, “Phila. Jury awards $78.5M in medical malpractice case,” Chris Mondics, May 6, 2012