Pennsylvania Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Results in $78.5M Jury Award

A Philadelphia jury has awarded $78.5 million to a child who developed cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice during the delivery. 

The Pennsylvania cerebral palsy lawsuit was brought by Victoria Upsey against Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, alleging that the hospital made a tragic misdiagnosis, determining that her unborn child was dead in August 2008, before it was ultimately realized more than an hour later that the child was still alive.

According to allegations in the complaint, the misdiagnosis an 81 minute delay in the boy’s delivery, during which the child’s brain was being deprived of oxygen. A physician declared the child dead after the first ultrasound and only when hospital staff performed a second ultrasound did they detect a faint heartbeat and conduct an emergency cesarean section.

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As a result of the medical misdiagnosis during birth, the child has developed severe spastic cerebral palsy and is a quadriplegic who will need medical care throughout the rest of his life.

During trial, which began April 13, 2012, it was alleged that error was caused by the use of antiquated equipment that was not sensitive enough to detect the boy’s heartbeat. There were also no records of the machines undergoing maintenance for at least 10 years prior to the incident, despite requirements that they undergo maintenance annually.

A jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas agreed, found in favor of Upsey and her son, awarding $78.5 million in damages for medical care, lost earning capacity, pain, suffering and emotional distress.

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.

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, cerebral palsy negligence lawsuits are often filed to obtain compensation for the child.


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