Parents of a toddler, who sustained brain damage, received $46.5 million in a medical malpractice verdict.
When the baby was born in 2014, her blood tests indicated high bilirubin levels. There were no further tests done and the hospital did not administer phototherapy lights to treat the baby’s jaundice, the required steps for treatment. Jaundice is an indicator of high levels of bilirubin and if it is ignored it penetrates a newborn’s blood brain barrier, causing brain damage.
Due to the untreated jaundice, the baby suffered developmental delays and is unable to walk without help. The now two-year-old requires 24-hour care for the rest of her life. The parents filed a medical negligence lawsuit against the hospital and the physician in charge of the delivery, alleging they did not follow national patient safety guidelines relating to newborn jaundice.
According to expert witness testimony, the child’s bilirubin levels were examined when she was less than two hours old. However, the results were compared to what an acceptable level would be for a two-day-old child. The brain damage resulting from the untreated bilirubin levels is considered a mistake that was preventable, according to the National Quality Forum.
The jury found the doctor to be 85 percent liable for the damages and the hospital to be 15 percent liable.
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