A jury recently awarded nearly $20 million to a child and his parents. The medical negligence did not occur in Virginia, but in New York. The child was born in 1998 with cerebral palsy after an oxygen-deprived delivery which resulted in the child being born lifeless. The doctor who delivered the child yanked at his head with forceps for over 20 minutes during the delivery and then another doctor inserted a breathing tub into the baby’s esophagus, rather than into his windpipe. As a result the baby had oxygen pumped into his stomach rather than his lungs, which further delayed the child’s resuscitation. Also, the mother sustained severe injuries during the delivery that required five surgical repairs to her vaginal area and rectum.
Had this egregious care with its horrific consequences occurred in Virginia, the maximum amount recoverable by this family would have been $1.5 million. No matter how egregious the care, or much long term care this child required at whatever cost, or how great the medical bills for the mother’s surgeries post-delivery, more than ten times LESS money would have been the maximum they could have recovered in Virginia. It is precisely this type of case which underscores the unfairness and harsh consequences of the medical malpractice cap for those most seriously injured by medical negligence in Virginia.