pennsylvania doctor loses appeal in medical malpractice case

Pennsylvania’s Superior Court recently rejected an appeal in a large medical malpractice case involving a Lackawanna County doctor. The doctor had appealed an earlier decision by a jury in the same county, claiming that there had been significant errors in the trial.

The 2008 trial resulted in a substantial jury award for the plaintiffs, a Mr. and Mrs. White, parents of a child who suffers from cerebral palsy, blindness and other medical problems as a result of medical mistakes that occurred during his birth in 2001. The jury in the 2008 trial found both the hospital and the obstetrician involved were negligent, and therefore liable for the child’s birth injuries.

Details of the Original Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

On June 30, 2001, Mrs. White knew that something was wrong with her unborn child. After calling OB/GYN Consultants and speaking with a doctor there (who was later named in the medical malpractice suit), she was advised to proceed to the Community Medical Center (CMC) in Scranton (also named in the suit).

Once at CMC, Ms. White was placed on a fetal monitoring system, which indicated that her child was in distress. According to the suit, CMC nurses advised the OB/GYN Consultants doctor of the seriousness of the situation and asked him to hurry to the hospital.

The doctor did not arrive for two hours, during which time the suit alleged the child suffered hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

Before or during delivery, any interruption in the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain of a child can result in devastating, lifelong injuries, including cerebral palsy. Doctors and nurses are trained to quickly identify and respond to signs of fetal distress caused by hypertension, placental abruption, infection or any number of other complicating factors. In this case, the jury found that CMC and the OB/GYN Consultants doctor failed to follow proper standards of care, and that failure resulted in the child’s birth injuries.

Community Medical Center reached a confidential settlement agreement with the family after the verdict. The recently upheld jury award against the doctor will be used almost entirely for the current and future expense of 24-hour care for the child.

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