An Ohio jury awarded $31 million in compensatory damages last week to the family of a child who developed cerebral palsy as result of a birth injury allegedly caused by medical negligence.
The complaint was filed on behalf of 8-year-old Leondo Stanziano, who was born on December 11, 2000 at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.
The jury found that the child suffered permanent brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy after being deprived of oxygen for 18 to 20 minutes during delivery. He now suffers from severe cerebral palsy, which has left him unable to speak, unable to walk and requiring 24-hour care.
Cerebral palsy is a life-long disability, which involves disorders of movement control and muscle coordination. It is caused by brain damage that occurs before, during or immediately after birth, and it is commonly associated with seizures, sensory impairments and cognitive limitation.
Although the Ohio malpractice lawsuit was filed against Miami Valley Hospital, Dr. Kendrin E. Van Steenwyk and Contemporary Obstetrics and Gynecology, the jury found that only the hospital’s negligence was to blame for the child’s birth injury. The family argued that hospital staff knew that the mother, Renetha Stanziano, was at a high risk for a ruptured uterus during labor, but did not properly monitor the infant and improperly used the labor-inducing drug Pitocin even after her uterus had become hyper-stimulated, causing it to rupture.
The jury award, which was returned on July 2, 2009, is believed to be the largest ever returned for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Ohio.
According to the Dayton Daily News, it is unlikely the hospital will have to pay the full amount of the verdict, as the parties reached a confidential settlement agreement, which will avoid lengthy appeals and the punitive damages phase of the cerebral palsy lawsuit.