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John Hopkins on losing side of $55 million verdict

One of the nation's most prestigious hospitals has been ordered to pay $55 million after a jury rendered a verdict in a medical malpractice case. It was alleged at trial that delays by the hospital in treating a mother that was in labor ultimately led to the child being born with cerebral palsy.

Kentucky and Ohio readers understand how devastating it must be for a child to be born with what will likely be a lifetime malady. It's for this reason that juries have so often rendered extremely large verdicts in medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries.

The mother was originally seen by a midwife when she went into labor. However, when the midwife perceived that there would be difficulties in delivering the child, the mother was then taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

It has been asserted that the mother then was forced to wait two hours before the hospital would perform a cesarean section as the hospital supposedly was waiting for the results of blood tests. Unfortunately, because of such delay, the parents now claim the child was deprived of oxygen that ultimately resulted in the child's cerebral palsy.

It's not a frequent occurrence that attorneys or clients will prevail against such a well known facility. Yet when jury members understand the devastating nature of such injuries, it's difficult for juries not to be sympathetic to the child suffering from cerebral palsy. The child in this matter, who is now two-years old, cannot walk, speak or even sit up on his own.

Medical providers do need to recognize when an emergency has arisen, and such providers must act as soon as humanly possible. Expert testimony at this trial suggested that the cesarean section should have been performed in 30 or 40 minutes. This same expert suggested that there was no sense of urgency on behalf of the medical staff.

Source: CBS Baltimore, "Family Awarded Record $55M Settlement in Malpractice Suit Against Hopkins," June 26, 2012

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