The family of a girl who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury has been awarded $23.3 million by a Minnesota jury after suing a hospital for waiting too long to perform a Cesarean section.
The Minnesota cerebral palsy lawsuit was filed against Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Medical Community Center by Elise Rodgers, as a result of alleged negligence during the birth of her daughter, Kylie, in June 2007. According to a report by Minnesota Public Radio, Rodgers claimed that negligent medical care caused the girl to suffer severe brain damage because doctors failed to act quickly once the fetal monitor warned the child was being deprived of oxygen during labor.
The family argued that Kylie’s umbilical cord was compromised, and that doctors should have performed a Cesarean before she suffered permanent brain damage. Kylie, who now has cerebral palsy as a result of the negligent care, requires constant suctioning of her airway, sometimes as often as every three to five minutes, in order to survive, according to the lawsuit.
In a verdict handed down earlier this month by a Kandiyohi County jury, Rodgers was awarded $10 million for the child’s future medical expenses, $1.7 million for past medical expenses, $1.5 million for future lost earnings and $10 million for disability, emotional distress and pain.
Many research studies are underway and new therapies are being developed for infants with cerebral palsy. Nevertheless, many children are still born with this condition and its spectrum of disabilities. When these injuries are the result of medical negligence by physicians, hospitals and/or other health care providers, the civil litigation system is there to provide for these special needs children. Contrary to politically-charged statements by those on the right, juries do understand when these life-altering injuries are caused by negligence. When they do and the care needs are properly presented, verdicts such as this in Minnesota are the proper result.