A Maryland jury awarded $3,991,000 to the family of a 9 year-old boy who developed cerebral palsy from a lack of oxygen to the brain before or during birth, which was found to have been caused by the medical negligence of an emergency room physician and obstetrician.
According to the cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuit filed by the boy’s family, his mother, Suzette Dineen, was admitted to Frederick Memorial Hospital in May 2000, when she was 36 weeks pregnant, due to abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. During the hours after her arrival at the hospital, the complaint alleged that the fetal heartbeat was not properly monitored.
After her arrival around 5:00 a.m., only one fetal heart tracing was done and no other fetal tests were performed until just before 8:00 a.m., when it was discovered that the baby’s heart rate was dangerously law and an emergency cesarean section was performed.
The emergency room physician, Dr. Brian Rader, was told about Suzette Dineen’s condition at 5:45 a.m., and the obstetrician, Dr. Edward Chen, was told at 7:00 a.m. However, the lawsuit alleged that neither doctor saw her or evaluated her.
The child, Ryan Dineen, was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which is a medical term describing disorders of movement control and muscle coordination. It is a life-long disability that is commonly associated with seizures, sensory impairments and cognitive limitations.
According to the Maryland Daily Record, the jury returned a verdict finding that the two doctors were negligent in causing the child’s cerebral palsy following trial in the Federick County Circuit Court of Maryland. The child and his family were awarded $2,941,000 for past and future medical expenses, $750,000 for lost wages and $300,000 for pain and suffering.
Frederick Memorial Hospital, three nurses and another doctor were also named as defendants in the medical malpractice lawsuit. However, the jury found that they were not responsible for the birth injury.