Cerebral Palsy Record Jury Award Opinion Piece
On February 23, 2017
A jury has awarded a Pennsylvania couple $14.5 million after finding that their child's cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice. This verdict is believed to be the largest amount ever awarded in that district court. There are a few important aspects of this case for anyone who may be pursuing similar legal action against a healthcare professional or hospital:
$11.5 million was awarded for future medical expenses. This is a part of damages that is often incorrectly estimated and legal professionals should be paying more attention to jury awards that are in this range.
The delivery staff administered Pitocin, a hormone drug that was strictly prohibited by the hospital's protocol when patients are dilated, making progress in their labor, and having strong contractions. By proving that the hospital staff had deviated from their standard protocol of care, the plaintiffs' attorneys were able to show that malpractice had occurred.
The $14.5 million award was more than one-third of the hospital's total revenue for their most recent tax year. This hints that there may be fewer restrictions on upward limits of jury awards in malpractice cases.
All things considered, this was a very interesting case that leaves legal professionals with some unique insight into how these types of cases may be handled in the future.