Jury delivers $34M verdict against Maryland hospital

A Maryland jury awarded almost $34 million to the parents of a boy who suffered severe brain damage at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson after being delivered by emergency C-section, despite no indication of fetal distress, The Daily Record reported March 31. 

The baby was delivered at 23 weeks, according to the report. The lawsuit alleges the mother was misdiagnosed as being in preterm labor and fetal distress after reporting to the hospital in 2018. She complained of lower abdominal cramping and back pain. The lawsuit also alleges that medical tests administered showed no signs of labor or placental abruption. 

The hospital and attending physician have maintained that the C-section was medically necessary, according to the report. 

After a two-week trial, the jury awarded the family $20 million for the boy's future medical expenses, $3 million in his lost earning potential and $915,000 for past medical expenses, according to the report. The jury's additional award of $10 million for pain and suffering is expected to be reduced to $1.3 million due to Maryland's cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. 

The hospital said in a statement that it respected the verdict but is disappointed with the decision. 

"With serious medical complications putting the mother and baby's lives in danger, including life-threatening placental abruption and pre-term labor, there was no reasonable option other than to deliver [the baby] at 23 weeks gestation," the hospital said in the statement. "Absent the heroic efforts of our team that day, [the baby] would not have survived."

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