April 19, 2005NJ woman gets $17.1M award after birth injury verdict

A jury in Everett, Washington has reached a verdict, awarding $17.1 million to a woman (now living in New Jersey) whose son developed cerebral palsy. Tami Lafferty’s birth injury lawyer says that her physician failed to run the tests that might have shown problems in her pregnancy, thus preventing injury to her son, Benjamin.

Lafferty says that less than a week before Benjamin’s birth, she informed her doctor that the baby did not seem to be moving much. However, an ultrasound test performed at Stevens Hospital came back with a “normal” reading. She returned to the hospital two days later, at which time doctors found that the baby’s heart was no longer beating. Benjamin, after losing 3/4 of his blood, was delivered by emergency Caesarean section. He now suffers from the symptoms of cerebral palsy, which can be traced to the brain damage from his birth injury.

Lafferty’s cerebral palsy attorney argued that she had been given the wrong test at Stevens Hospital and that her baby ought to have been delivered during her first visit there. Jurors agreed, finding Stevens Hospital and the two radiologists who incorrectly interpreted her ultrasound test to be liable for her son’s injuries.

Lafferty’s birth injury lawsuit was not the first one brought against Stevens Hospital in recent years. The hospital reached a $13 million settlement in 2002 with the parents of a child whose size was underestimated prior to delivery. The baby was eventually delivered by C-section, but he suffered a birth injury during the failed vaginal delivery.

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