Baltimore Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Results in $55M Damage Award

A Maryland couple has been awarded $55 million by a Baltimore jury in a cerebral palsy lawsuit filed against Johns Hopkins Hospital, which alleged that medical negligence during the birth of their son left the child with brain damage.

The complaint was brought by Enso Martinez and his wife, Rebecca Fielding, after their son, Enzo, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy following his birth in March 2010.

According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, the child suffered severe brain damage when Johns Hopkins caused a two hour delay before performing an emergency Caesarean section.

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Cerebral palsy may result from 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.

Following trial in the Maryland Circuit Court for Baltimore City, a jury awarded the family $25 million in damages for future medical expenses, $4 million for lost wages and another $26 million in compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. However, the family is only going to collect $29.6 million of the total $55 million award, due to damage caps.

There are caps on non-economic damages under Maryland law, which overrides the judgment of the jury in favor of a cap put in place by the state legislature, setting the maximum amount that may be awarded for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages. The Maryland damage cap will limit that portion of the award to only $665,000.

Johns Hopkins officials have said they intend to appeal the verdict and attempt to completely overturn the jury’s award. The hospital contends that it did nothing wrong in Enzo’s birth.

Fielding first attempted to have her child at home with the aid of a midwife, but complications resulted in her being rushed to Johns Hopkins for the emergency Caesarian. According to the lawsuit, once she got there she was forced to wait two hours, during which time her child was deprived of oxygen, suffering brain damage and leading to cerebral palsy.

Johns Hopkins defense contended that the actual damage occurred before the child got to the hospital and was the result of Fielding attempting to have the child at home.

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