$29.8M Verdict: Birth Injury Involving BayState Medical Center
2016 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
A Hampden Superior Court jury returned a $29.8 million verdict against a doctor in favor of a minor plaintiff who suffered a devastating brain injury at birth
On the evening September 5, 2004 the plaintiff’s mother presented to Baystate Medical Center at 28 weeks pregnant with complaints of decreased fetal movement. She was placed on electronic fetal monitoring and admitted for continued observation. Although the monitor strips were initially non-reassuring, the baby’s heart improved and remained stable for the next 18 hours. However, there were significant changes to the baby’s condition starting shortly before 6:00 pm on September 6. The baby’s heart rate began to drop into the 50’s and 60’s for several minutes each time. The residents on duty recognized the problems and placed calls to the on-call attending physician, Dr. David Seubert.
Dr. Seubert’s plan over the phone was to continue monitoring and watch the baby closely. He never came to the hospital nor did he contact any attending physicians in the hospital to have them evaluate the mother. This type of concerning pattern continued for the next 3 ½ hours.
The residents placed another call to Dr. Seubert around 8:20 pm and he again recommended that the baby be monitored and watched closely. Again, Dr. Seubert did not come to the hospital and did not communicate with any attending about seeing and evaluating the mother.
Finally, at 9:48 pm, after several more serious drops in the baby’s heart rate, a code was called by the residents and the mother was brought to the operating room for an emergency cesarean section. The minor plaintiff was barely alive at birth. The pediatric team present at the delivery aggressively resuscitated her and she was brought to the NICU where she spent the first 3 months of her life.
The minor plaintiff underwent a brain MRI at 2 months old, which showed that her injuries were due to lack of oxygen and blood flow to her brain.
At the time of trial, the plaintiff was 11 years-old. She is unable to walk, unable to talk, is legally blind, has a tracheostomy tube and is fed via g-tube. She is dependent on others for all of her activities.
They jury deliberated for 16 hours over 3 days before reaching their verdict. The jury awarded $1,500,000 for past pain and suffering; $10,000,000 for future pain and suffering; $1,250,000 in lost earning capacity; $16,100,000 for the cost of future care and $1,040,687 for past medical bills.
The minor plaintiff was represented by Robert Higgins of the Boston medical malpractice law firm of Lubin & Meyer, P.C.
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