On November 2, 2012, after a two week trial, a Philadelphia jury awarded over $12 million to a severely brain-damaged child represented by Beasley Firm attorney Jim Beasley, Jr.. The malpractice award will ensure the child, who is now three and a half years old, will have fully adequate medical care to meet his substantial needs. In the lawsuit, the family alleged a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) at Penn OB/GYN Associates, the obstetrics practice of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), was negligent while caring for the mother and child during the pregnancy.
When his mother was 38 weeks pregnant, the baby had flipped around inside her and was in a “breech” position (butt and feet first) rather than head down. The midwife diagnosed this during a routine prenatal visit, but failed to call a physician to attempt to externally turn or rotate the baby back into a head first position. Instead, the mother was discharged without care, and scheduled for a cesarean section the following week without any warning that there was a risk of umbilical cord prolapse (UCP). The day before the mother was supposed to have the cesarean section (C-section), her water broke and the umbilical cord prolapsed, or fell out of her vagina, and was in between her legs. She was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) but by the time the baby boy was delivered by emergency C-section it was too late. At birth, the little boy required resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and now suffers from severe brain damage due to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen to the brain), all caused by the prolapsed umbilical cord. He was admitted to the HUP neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for intensive management of his brain injury and organ damage.
After two days of deliberations the jury awarded $1.5 million in lost earnings, $3 million in pain and suffering, and $8.1 million in future medical expenses. Jim Beasley represented the family through two years of litigation, conducting depositions of the health care providers and retaining and preparing expert medical witnesses. At trial, Jim explained to the jury complicated medical studies showing how complete and footling breech positions – like the child had – are associated with increased risk of cord prolapse versus frank breech or vertex presentations. They further explained and proved how the midwife was negligent in failing to recognize that risk (for example, the ultrasound image was poor quality, and yet there was also no attempt to obtain more information about the amount of amniotic fluid, placental location, cord location, fetal status, presence or absence of anomalies or more details or causes for this breech malpresentation) and bring in an OB/GYN or Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist to attempt to correct the problem.
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