Pennsylvania Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Lawsuit Results in $20.5 M Verdict

A jury in Northeast Pennsylvania awarded a child with cerebral palsy $20.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed as a result of mistakes that occurred at the time of the child’s birth.

The case involved the June 2001 birth of Cody White, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The family alleged that the disability was caused damage to the brain during a four hour delay in his delivery.

According to the malpractice lawsuit, the boy’s mother, Laura White, arrived at Community Medical Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was hooked up to a fetal monitoring system which demonstrated that the baby was in distress. However, a doctor did not arrive to deliver the child for approximately two hours, and even after his arrival, attempts were made to induce labor instead of doing an emergency caesarean section.

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Cerebral palsy is a motor disability which is caused by brain damage that can occur before, during or immediately after birth. The family successfully argued that the doctor and hospital’s failure to do an immediate c-section resulted in a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, which resulted in the permanent brain damage.

As a result of the birth injury, Cody White, who is now 7 years old, requires 24 hour care, is unable to use his hands, is mentally retarded, blind and functions at the level of a 9 month old.

The cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuit was decided by a jury in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, which awarded the family $2 million for past expenses incurred by the parents, and $18.5 million for the child’s pain suffering, lost earning capacity and future medical expenses.

According to the Scranton Times, the verdict may be a record in the county, as the article indicates that no medical malpractice verdict in the 7 counties of Northeast Pennsylvania has exceeded $10 million since 2000.

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