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Medical malpractice case leads to $17 million award

For soon-to-be parents in Wisconsin, the days leading up to the birth of a child are likely filled with both excitement and anticipation for the new life, but also concern about the delivery and the health of mother and child. One out-of-state family had what was likely their worst fears realized when their baby suffered severe birth injuries. As a result, the family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, claiming negligence caused severe injuries. A jury recently awarded the family $17 million.

The case involves the birth of a toddler who was born in 2012. The child's mother claims that she went to a midwife the day after she began having contractions. After hours of contractions, she was eventually sent to the hospital named in the suit. Not only did a physician fail to examine the woman, the suit claims, but the strength of contractions and baby's heart rate were not monitored.

As a result, the baby suffered brain compression and oxygen deprivation. According to the mother, the child has limited vision and is unable to talk or walk. Although the hospital claims that the woman received an acceptable standard of care, a jury recently awarded the family $17 million. It is unclear how caps on medical malpractice awards in Nebraska -- where the lawsuit took place -- will impact the overall award. The family also came to a confidential settlement with the midwife in the case.

Most expecting parents have a certain idea in their head for what their child's life will be like. While able to adapt, many are initially physically and emotionally unprepared for the news that their child was harmed as a result of medical malpractice. For those in Wisconsin who have suffered in such manner, a successfully presented civil case could result in an award of damages that may help the family better cope with their child's injuries.

Source: Washington Times, "$17 million jury award could test Nebraska tort cap", Aug. 8, 2015

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