The Maryland Litigation Blog

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West Virginia Jury Awards $10.8 Million in Birth Injury Lawsuit

By Stephanie Yanovich

Justice was finally served last week for a West Virginia child who reportedly sustained devastating brain damage during birth. According to the district court complaint filed by her parents on her behalf, Aubrie Hysell did not receive adequate oxygen during the labor and delivery process at Raleigh General Hospital in 2010. She was later diagnosed with a permanent neuromuscular disorder called cerebral palsy. Her parents alleged that medical negligence on the part of hospital staff caused Aubrie’s condition. On June 3rd, a jury agreed and awarded a $10.8 million verdict in favor of the plaintiffs.

Aubrie and her parents Crystal and Ryan Hysell were represented by Barry J. Nace and Christopher T. Nace of Paulson & Nace PLLC. After the Hysell’s legal team argued their case at trial, the jury determined that Raleigh General Hospital was responsible for 70% of Aubrie’s injuries while the U.S. government was 30% responsible. The federal government was deemed partially liable because it funds Access Health, a medical network that provided care to Aubrie after she was born.

A key issue of the case was whether the medical team that managed Aubrie’s birth directly contributed to her oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia, and her subsequent development of cerebral palsy. Per the filed complaint, Aubrie required resuscitation efforts shortly after birth; however, Raleigh General was unable to provide records of what transpired during the first few minutes of her life. This documentation gap is significant, as up to 15% of U.S. cerebral palsy cases are attributed to insufficient oxygen around the moment of birth.

According to the complaint, the Hysell’s struggled to find a cause for the developmental delays exhibited by Aubrie as she grew older. It was not until a 2016 MRI showed brain damage consistent with hypoxia at birth that they began to suspect medical negligence. The Hysell’s further claimed that an earlier MRI of Aubrie was reported to them as normal, and that this error delayed her cerebral palsy diagnosis and treatment. Clearly, the jury concurred that Aubrie’s doctors committed a dereliction of duty.

Included in the award is $9 million for future medical expenses, $837,527 for loss of future earnings, and $1 million in non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are designed to address the subjective losses resulting from an injury – the pain, suffering, and physical and emotional trauma that are not easily quantifiable. In the Hysell’s case, the fact that Aubrie was injured as a newborn and will require lifelong medical care likely contributed to the jury’s high dollar verdict in their favor.

10 Lesiones Comunes en el Nacimiento

By Byron Warnken

The following article is obviously in Spanish.  It was reproduced from this article on Warnken, LLC’s warnkenlaw.com. Las diez más comunes lesiones en el nacimiento Un estudio en el 2016 en el “Expanded Health Data From the New Birth Certificate”, ha reportado en el “National Vital Statistics Reports” para el Centro de Control de Enfermedades, […]

September 2018 Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in and around Baltimore

By Byron Warnken

There were about 21 medical malpractice suits filed in the month of September in and around Baltimore.  Some hospitals are listed as co-defendants in suits against individual practitioners, and vice versa.  These are for cases listed as medical malpractice or med mal, excluding PG County and Montgomery County which do not break out their statistics […]

The Hidden Costs of Maryland’s Non-Economic Damages Cap

By Byron Warnken

One might think a cap on non-economic damages is reasonable.  In theory, it is reasonable.  That’s how the right sells it to our population.  I do not, however, believe the cap on non-economic damages in Maryland is reasonable.  It’s simply too low at approximately $800,000. How do you tell someone born with severe cerebral palsy […]