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$55 million Pennsylvania medical malpractice verdict

Getting pregnant and the subsequent birth of a child are joyous times for any Pennsylvania family. However, not everything always goes smoothly as planned. Medical negligence is a possibility, especially since an infant's life is so fragile.

One Pennsylvania couple faced the harsh reality of just how fragile their baby's life is. Their baby was born four years ago. The birthing process was quite complicated. The parents claim that as a result of medical malpractice, their son now has cerebral palsy and other development delays.

The negligence apparently occurred right at the time of birth. In a lawsuit against the hospital and doctor who delivered their child, the parents argued that the doctor overlooked indicators that the baby was not receiving enough oxygen and should have been delivered by caesarean section. At the end of the case, the jury reached a verdict finding that the parents had met their burden of proof. The jury awarded a $55 million verdict against the hospital and doctor for the boy's injuries.

There are two major theories that families pursue when something goes wrong during the birth of their child: birth injuries and birth defects. The negligence asserted by the Pennsylvania family is a type of birth injury. It is a problem that arose during the actual birth process.

In contrast, a family can also assert a birth defect claim. Birth defects focus on what occurred during the gestation period: the possible harm that occurred to the baby before birth. The most common contributing factor to birth defects is prescription drug use. The medical professional may have prescribed a drug to the pregnant mother that caused harm to the baby.

Families should rejoice when they learn of the news of a coming child. But, they should become knowledgeable about the birthing process along the way. Understanding the different forms of negligence that may affect the baby is key. Not all situations are foreseeable, however, and this is when the legal system can come in and help a family recover for the damages they have suffered.

Source: claimsjournal.com, "Pennsylvania Jury Awards $55M for Boy's Injuries at Birth," Dec. 27, 2013

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