A family in California filed a malpractice lawsuit against their OBGYN doctor and the hospital that their child was born in. The baby suffered brain damage during birth that led to the development of cerebral palsy. A jury decided in favor of the family.
Andrew and Jennifer Blunt, who live in California, were expecting a child. When it was time for the baby to be born, Jennifer was in Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. The physician who helped Jennifer to give birth was Dr. Kurt Haupt. Unfortunately, things went wrong while the baby was being born.
According to lawyer Nicholas Rowley, who was representing the Blunts, baby Sofia suffered brain damage during her birth. This later developed into cerebral palsy. He said that the umbilical cord wrapped around Sofia’s neck and that her heart rate fluctuated wildly during the birth. He argued that Dr. Haupt should have done something to hasten the birth.
The Blunts sued Dr. Haupt, and Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, for malpractice. Sierra Vista settled with the Blunt family for an undisclosed amount in damages.
According to lawyer Peter Bertling, who was representing Dr. Haupt, there were no signs of fetal distress to indicate that the doctor needed to handle the birth any differently than he had done. The lawyer argued that the nurses, (who testified during the trial), did not notice anything amiss in heart monitoring during delivery. The lawyer argued that the loss of oxygen was caused by an obstruction in Sofia’s airway, perhaps from a food blockage.
The lawyer for the Blunts asked the jury to award $78 million in damages. This amount is to cover the medical costs that Sofia’s family will incur during the course of her lifetime. The jury decided that Dr. Blunt was negligent, and awarded the family more than $74 million. The judge for this case, Judge Charles S. Crandall, has the authority to reduce these damages. Lawyer Peter Bertling, who was representing Dr. Haupt, intends to file an appeal.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy. There are some treatments that can help a child who has cerebral palsy to improve his or her motor skills. The sooner the treatments begin, the better the outcome. Sofia is three years old. Her parents filed this lawsuit not because they didn’t love their daughter, or because they couldn’t accept her special needs. They did it to ensure that there would be enough money to give Sofia the care she needs over her lifetime.
Image by Vectorportal on Flickr