Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Ends in $120M Verdict for Blind Teen Who Suffered Birth Trauma

Medical staff waited too long to perform C-section, despite signs showing fetal distress, according to allegations raised in the lawsuit brought by the family of a now 13 year old left with cerebral palsy, blindness and other birth injuries.

A Wayne County, Michigan jury has awarded $120 million to the family of a teen boy they say suffered cerebral palsy and other injuries due to birth trauma that could have been avoided if the appropriate standards of medical care had been followed.

The lawsuit was brought by the family of K’Jon Drake, who is now 13, presenting claims for medical malpractice after an investigation revealed that a Henry Ford Hospital obstetrician and four nurses provided negligent care during K’jon’s delivery in 2010.

His mother, Kirsten Drake, was 39.5 weeks into her pregnancy when she went to Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit, complaining of swelling, edema, and uterine contractions. The medical staff decided to perform a C-section, due to poor fetal heart indications.

However, the family’s lawsuit indicated the staff waited more than two hours before performing the procedure. The jury was told that this resulted in an unnecessary, and negligent, delay while K’Jon suffered from oxygen deprivation. As a result of the birth trauma, the child was born blind, with severe cerebral palsy, and is unable to walk due to the avoidable brain damage caused by the delay, the family argued at trial.

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Late last week, a Wayne County jury, agreed, awarding Kirsten and D’Jon Drake $120 million, following a four-week long trial in the cerebral palsy lawsuit.

The hospital has already indicated it will appeal the verdict.

Cerebral Palsy Birth Trauma Lawsuits

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that may be attributed to brain damage suffered before, during or shortly after birth. If the child’s brain is deprived of oxygen around the time of birth, it can result in irreversible damage that leaves the child with developmental problems, loss of motor functions and other life-long injuries and disabilities.

In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by a medical mistake, where the child’s brain was deprived of oxygen at, during or before birth, as the jury determined happened in the case of the Drake family.

While cerebral palsy may occur without an error, when the exercise of the proper standards of medical care could have prevented the child’s brain from being deprived of oxygen, parents may be able to obtain financial compensation through a cerebral palsy lawsuit, including benefits to provide life-long treatments required by the disability.

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