$74 Million Verdict in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
A jury recently awarded a $74-million verdict in California in a medical malpractice lawsuit brought by a young couple on behalf of their daughter who suffered cerebral palsy injuries at birth. This secures the funds needed for lifelong medical and personal care for the Plaintiff, Sofia Blunt, who is now three.
The lawsuit alleged that obstetrician Dr. Kurt Haupt delivered Sophia, but failed to monitor the fetal heart rate feeds, although certified in fetal monitoring, per the lawsuit. Her parent’s described Haupt’s demeanor as “oblivious” when Sofia arrived pale, limp, and non-responsive due to strangulation by the umbilical cord encircling her neck, even handing scissors to Sofia’s father to cut the cord still choking her.
Strips used in fetal monitoring that were reviewed showed tachycardia in the fetus three-hours prior to delivery. A cover-up was alleged after Haupt’s co-defendant hospital records on Sofia disappeared, such as her umbilical cord containing blood that would have proven hypoxia and respiratory therapy records.
Attorneys defending Haupt and the hospital argued that Sofia chocked on an airway obstruction, suffering no distress until five-minutes post-birth. The plaintiff argued that intubation performed through her esophagus was botched because Sofia was treated as though the airway was blocked when she was being choked by the umbilical cord.
The hospital case settled seven-weeks into the trial, pursuant to nondisclosure.
Sofia was awarded the exact amount sought on her behalf: Expenses for future medical care of $53-million and lost earnings of $10-million, based upon 63-years life-expectancy. The defense had asked jurors for $1.5-million for 25-years life-expectancy.
Sofia’s father, Andrew, a Marine and veteran of the Iraq war, and her mother, Jennifer, a Head Start director, were awarded $1.3-million and $2.5-million, respectively, for noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages totaled $11-million (Sofia’s award was $7.7-million) but California caps medical malpractice cases at $250,000.
Haupt is expected to appeal.
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