No amount of money could probably ever make up for the lifetime of disability Tiffany Busone has endured since doctors and nurses attending her birth in 1985 failed to resuscitate her for nearly 15 minutes after she was delivered not breathing. The lack of oxygen during those first minutes of life caused significant brain damage, and Busone developed cerebral palsy.
In a long-overdue attempt to compensate Busone for her birth injury, to make up for wages she will never be able to earn and to provide for the in-home health care she will need for the rest of her life, a New York (NY) jury last week awarded her $43.5 million in suffering and damage. Before the jury verdict, the hospital where Busone incurred her brain injury, the now-defunct Bellevue Maternity Hospital, had reportedly tried to broker a prejudgment deal in which it paid Busone and her family just $300,000.
The jury in Busone’s case determined that the hospital and its staff were negligent in ensuring the safe delivery of Busone. Mistakes in the delivery room and maternity ward cause injuries to mothers and newborns ranging from infections to fractures, nerve damage and asphyxiation. Far too many such injuries result from avoidable errors and lack of attention to detail.
Every birth injury is potentially life-shattering. Victims and their families deserve justice when birth injuries occur, and I’m pleased to see that the New York jury recognized this.