Failure to Treat Preeclampsia Results in $230M Medical Malpractice Verdict

A renowned hospital in Baltimore has been ordered to pay $230 million for allegedly causing a severe birth injury, according to plaintiffs. Medical malpractice attorneys understand this case involved failure to abide the standard of care for that profession, allegedly causing severe birth injury.birth injury attorney

The verdict includes:

  • $3.6 million in prior medical expenses;
  • $1 million in lost earnings
  • $25 million in non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.)
  • $200 million in future damages

In Byrom v. Johns Hopkins Bayview stemmed from allegations that doctors and nurses at the hospital gave the child’s 16-year-old mother inaccurate information about the seriousness of the outcome after she was diagnosed with preeclampsia. This, plaintiff attorneys alleged, resulted in the teen mother’s decision to undergo a vaginal delivery – unmonitored – rather than a C-section she should have undergone.

West Palm Beach birth injury attorneys understand the tide in the trial may have turned with testimony from one of the physicians that she went up the chain of command within the facility with regard to the plan because there was concern the case could garner attention from the media – something about which hospital administrators would only truly have been concerned about knowing its providers were in the wrong.

The teen mother was admitted to the hospital in October 2014 when she was just 25 weeks along. She was later transported to another facility via helicopter when she began showing signs of preeclampsia, a condition that impacts 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies. If not treated quickly and properly, it can result in renal or liver failure, and can be life-threatening for both mother and child. Mothers can suffer fatal seizures and fetuses may suffer loss of oxygen and food due to the placenta not receiving enough blood. This can result in low birth weight, but if severe, can also end in serious, lifelong disabilities or even death.

With proper prenatal care and early detection, many women with preeclampsia can still deliver a healthy child.

In this case, doctors explained to the mother that the prognosis for her child was extremely poor and that she was likely to suffer paralysis, blindness and neurological defects and severe disability. Upon receiving this news, plaintiff said she no longer wished to continue fetal monitoring and chose to have a vaginal delivery, believing the child was likely to die anyway and/or that nothing they did would make much difference in the child’s prognosis.

Labor was induced the following day,  with the baby girl, not breathing and without a heart rate, immediately transferred to the NICU, where she was resuscitated. But those complications were reportedly the result of lack of oxygen during birth – not prior. She developed cerebral palsy, is unable to walk and must now rely on a feeding tube.

All of this, plaintiff alleges, stemmed from the hospital’s inaccurate prognosis for the child. Had she believed there was a real chance her daughter could have been born without lasting disabilities, she never would have discontinued monitoring.

Defendant hospital denied negligence, asserting the injury to the child occurred prior to the mother’s arrival to the hospital.

The jury’s $229 million verdict is believed to be the largest ever in Maryland. Because state law caps medical malpractice damage claims, the amount is likely to be reduced to $200 million, though that is still a record sum.

If your child has suffered a birthing injury in Florida, it is imperative to seek prompt legal advice.

Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

Baltimore jury awards record $229 million for brain injury during child’s birth at Johns Hopkins Bayview, July 2, 2019, By Tim Prudente, The Baltimore Sun