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Virginia Family Wins $9M Birth Injury Jury Award

A civil trial jury in Roanoke, Virginia (VA), on May 18, 2012, awarded a family whose daughter was born in 2001 with cerebral palsy and malfunctioning kidneys $9 million to pay for past and future medical treatment costs. The damages are to be paid by two obstetricians who, evidence presented in court showed, misdiagnosed a health condition in the unborn child and failed to recommend standard handling of the baby's delivery.

One doctor misdiagnosed poor lung function in the child while she was still in the womb. The other doctor advised a physician to induce labor instead of performing a Caesarean section. Fetuses often grow too large in women with gestational diabetes to permit safe vaginal births. C-sections are standard care for women with the condition.

The doctors' mistakes, according to the Roanoke Times, caused the baby to be deprived of oxygen to the extent that she suffered brain damage. The girl was also "born with dangerously low blood pressure, and with a loss of one-third to one-half of her normal blood amount." Two kidney transplants have already been required, even though the girl is not yet 11 years old.

As a Virginia medical malpractice attorney whose firm has helped many families receive compensation from the health care providers and facilities whose negligence caused birth injuries, I applaud this jury verdict. Cerebral palsy is not always caused by a misdiagnosis or mistake, but when either is to blame, the responsible parties must be held responsible. Caring for a disabled child and providing the best life possible for a person with a disability as he or she ages is financially beyond most families. Now, one family in western Virginia has fewer worries.

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