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Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Results in $10M Verdict Over Birth in Ambulance

A Florida woman has been awarded $10 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against an ambulance service, which involved allegations that negligence by the paramedics caused her son to suffer a birth injury that resulted in cerebral palsy

The cerebral palsy lawsuit was filed by Margarita Chess, of Volusia County, against EVAC Ambulance, Bert Fish Medical Center, Halifax Medical Center, Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, and two doctors. According to a report by the Orlando Sentinel, all of the defendants except EVAC settled with Chess before the case went to trial for $1.4 million.

Chess’s son, now six years old, was born when she was just six months pregnant. When Chess went into labor in 2003, she was initially treated at Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach. Then she was sent by EVAC Ambulance to Halifax Medical Center. However, the ambulance was routed instead to Arnold Palmer, 57 miles away, and her son, Addison Chess, was born en route.

The birth injury lawsuit alleges that Addison had trouble breathing when he was born, 15 minutes into the drive. Ambulance paramedics conducted CPR, but the boy suffered a lack of oxygen and brain damage as a result, which left him with life-long disabilities associated with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy can be caused by an injury to an infant’s brain 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 associated with cerebral palsy. The condition is also commonly associated with seizures, sensory impairments and cognitive limitation.

Medical malpractice lawsuits for cerebral palsy are often filed when a medical mistake or series of mistakes occur during prenatal care or delivery that result in the child’s brain being deprived of oxygen for an extended amount of time.

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