When many people across the nation see the settlement amounts that are awarded to accident victims, they often focus on the dollar amount rather than what went into determining this compensation. For jurors here in Mississippi, this means carefully considering the facts of the case and issuing an amount that will both provide for the victim in the years to come but also adheres to state tort laws and the caps associated with economic and non-economic damages.
This was likely the case for jurors in Pennsylvania as well who had to make a decision on a medical malpractice case that would not only hold the hospital responsible for its negligence but would bring a sense of justice to the family. After deliberation, $32.8 million was finally awarded to a 4-year-old girl for the serious birth injury she suffered at the hands of negligent hospital staff.
Few residents here in Mississippi would have heard about the medical malpractice case that easily could have happened in any hospital across the nation. Reports indicate that nurses in this case failed to inform a physician in a timely manner when the baby’s heart monitor started to suggest distress. As a result, the now 4-year-old girl suffered serious brain damage that resulted in spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy that will affect her for the rest of her life.
Before jurors made their final decision about the settlement, they took into account future medical expenses that the 4-year-old and her family would have to endure. They also took into consideration other factors such as what the birth injury had already cost the family and even future earning potential that was lost as a result of the hospital’s negligence. So while some tort reformists might say that this amount is excessive, knowing everything that was considered might make a majority of our readers disagree with this opinion.
Source: The Philadelphia Business Journal, “4-year-old awarded $32.8M in medical malpractice suit,” John George, Jan. 22, 2014