Hospital to Pay $15M in Compensation for Cerebral Palsy from Birth

A Florida hospital has been ordered by state lawmakers to pay $15 million in compensation to a boy who has cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury caused by negligence during his delivery. 

Aaron Edwards and his mother, Mitzi Roden, won a medical malpractice lawsuit against Lee Memorial Health System, run by Lee County, Florida, in 2007.

The jury in that case awarded Edwards and his parents $31 million, agreeing that the hospital was liable for the injuries that resulted in his cerebral palsy. However, because the hospital was run by the county, it fell under the state’s sovereign immunity laws, and did not have to pay the amount awarded.

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Florida passed legislation earlier this month that will force the hospital to pay the now 14-year old boy financial compensation for the cerebral palsy injury, which requires that he have 24-hour care and that he communicate through the use of a computer system. It was one of several bills meant to circumvent the state’s sovereign immunity laws, which protect state-run operations from personal injury liability.

The bill requires the hospital to pay $10 million immediately, and an additional $1 million over the next five years.

Cerebral palsy is caused by 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 associated with cerebral palsy.

Although cerebral palsy can occur without a medical mistake, when the exercise of the proper standards of medical care could have prevented the child’s brain from being deprived of oxygen, compensation for cerebral palsy may be available through a medical malpractice lawsuit, and some of the largest jury awards each year in courts throughout the United States involve such cases.


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