Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Ends in $78.5 Million Award

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawsuit ends in $78.5 million AwardA jury in Philadelphia has awarded the mother of a child with cerebral palsy $78.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit that claimed Pottstown Memorial Hospital was responsible for the child’s condition, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

According to the news source, 34-year-old Victoria Upsey’s medical malpractice lawyer stated in the trial that she was admitted to the health center in August 2008 with signs of complications that allegedly caused her unborn child to be deprived of oxygen. During the trial, a group of medical experts asserted that if delivery had been ordered immediately, the child would not have developed the disabling condition.

Cerebral palsy includes several disorders that can impede normal body functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking, according to the National Library of Medicine. Symptoms of the disease range from mild to severe, and tend to be more pronounced in the arms and the legs.

The lawsuit alleged that Upsey’s physician initially declared the baby dead after performing an ultrasound. However, a short time later, another hospital worker performed a second ultrasound and determined the baby still had a heartbeat, prompting the staff member to call for an emergency cesarean section, the news source stated.

Upsey’s attorney argued that the baby’s condition in the womb continued to deteriorate over an 81-minute period before the C-section was performed, which resulted in cerebral palsy. The lawyer contended that if Pottstown Memorial had a better-trained ultrasound technician and updated equipment, the delay could have been averted.

The jury ruled that the physician was not responsible for the delay, and that blame should fall on the hospital, according to the media outlet.

“Birth injury cases are always emotional matters, but the facts of this case were particularly shocking because the reason this delivery was delayed was that the obstetrician thought the baby was dead,” Upsey’s lawyer said.

The $78.5 million verdict includes payments for impending medical care of the child, lost wages, pain and suffering endured by the baby, and emotional distress Upsey, a single mother, encountered during the ordeal.

While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, current treatment aims to help victims become as independent as possible, and can include help from doctors, dentists, social workers, nurses and many forms of specialists and therapists.