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$42 million awarded to family in birth injury case

Most women in Pennsylvania with a healthy pregnancy anticipate that they will give birth to a healthy child. However, the birth process can be complicated, sometimes, necessitating the use of certain tools, such as forceps. These tools take skill to use. If they are improperly used, it could cause the child to suffer lifelong birth injuries, as one Pennsylvania family has experienced.

A Pennsylvania family has been awarded almost $42 million by a federal judge in a medical malpractice lawsuit. This may be the biggest award ever issued in Pennsylvania in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The lawsuit was based on a 2012 incident, in which, during the birth of the parents' child, the physician used forceps incorrectly, causing the child to sustain severe brain damage. The child, who is now 5, is able to comprehend language, but cannot speak, read or write. The child also becomes easily tired, and as he ages, will need to use a motorized wheelchair to get around. The child also behaves aggressively at times. He will need to be supervised for the rest of his life and as an adult, will probably have to live in an institution.

The physician at issue practiced medicine at Keystone Women's Health Center. The center was the recipient of federal funds. Therefore, the lawsuit named both the physician and the center as defendants.

The trial took six days. The center regrets that the incident happened and has stated that steps have been taken to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.

Cases like this one should never happen, but unfortunately, no one is immune to physician negligence. One error, during delivery, could lead to a lifetime of suffering for the child. While no amount of money can truly compensate this family for their losses, it can at least help them cope with the expenses they will incur caring for their disabled child.

Source: Penn Live, "Judge awards parents $42M in federal malpractice lawsuit," Eric Veronikis, April 20, 2017

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