A California couple has been awarded $74 million in damages by a jury who heard a cerebral palsy lawsuit brought over medical negligence during child birth, which allegedly resulted in brain damage and a life-long disability for the child.
The complaint was brought by Andrew and Jennifer Blunt against Dr. Kurt Haupt, who allegedly ignoring signs of fetal distress during the delivery of their daughter in April 2009.
As a result of the negligent care, the family claimed that their daughter, Sofia Blunt, now suffers from cerebral palsy and will require medical care for the rest of her life, which could have been avoided if the proper standard of medical care had been followed.
According to allegations raised in the medical malpractice lawsuit, there were signs that Sofia’s heart rate was fluctuating wildly just before she was born, but the parents indicate that Dr. Haupt did not properly respond to those signs. The family alleges that he should have either hastened the birth or conducted an examination of the cord blood.
Following trial, a jury in San Luis Obispo County, California agreed and awarded the family $74 million in damages last week. The award includes compensation to pay for the medical care Sofia will require for the rest of her life. However, according to a report in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Judge Charles S. Crandall, who presided over the case, is expected to reduce the jury award.
Dr. Haupt’s defense team argued that the brain damage was caused by a blockage of mucus in the infant’s airway and that the heart rate was not a factor in Sofia’s cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury that can occur before, during or shortly after birth. If the brain of a baby is deprived of oxygen, it can result in irreversible damage that leaves the child with developmental problems, loss of motor functions and other life-long injuries and disabilities.
Although cerebral palsy can occur without a medical mistake, when the exercise of the proper standards of medical care could have prevented the child’s brain from being deprived of oxygen, cerebral palsy negligence lawsuits are often filed to obtain compensation for the child.