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Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settlements

Cerebral Palsy affects approximately 10,000 babies born each year. This neurological condition affects the nervous system, causing physical and sometimes mental disability that requires constant medical care and can be very expensive to treat over the course of a lifetime. Sometimes cerebral palsy occurs as the result of brain damage in utero — an infection in the mother’s bloodstream, a traumatic injury to the mother, illicit drug use, or untreated pre-eclampsia.

In about a third of all cases, cerebral palsy is related to a preventable birth injury. Often it’s discovered that medical staff failed to monitor for signs of maternal and fetal distress, improperly used instruments like a vacuum or forceps, or did not perform a timely C-section when necessary. Some of these cases go to court to dispute the facts because it is not immediately clear who was at fault or how the injury was caused. More often than not, the hospital has clear documentation of the errors and elects to negotiate a cerebral palsy settlement outside of court, rather than be dragged through lengthy and costly trial proceedings.

Recent cerebral palsy trial verdicts

  • Plaintiffs vs. Massachusetts General Hospital: $23.8 million award. In this case, the baby was born with bleeding around the brain, large bruises on her head and cerebral palsy. The attorney argued that healthcare professionals failed to notice signs of fetal distress and waited too long to provide emergency care. A vacuum extractor was used, without warning the parents of the risks involved. Additionally, delivery room staff also misused the drug Pitocin — giving the mother increasingly higher doses to induce labor all day, rather than scheduling a necessary C-section.
  • Stephanie Debes vs. St. Vincent’s Medical Center: $100 million award. A Staten Island jury determined that hospital staff was to blame for failing to recognize the mother’s contractions prior to labor and for sending her home with a Benadryl. As a result, the mother’s twin babies were born prematurely. Baby Amanda was born healthy, but her sister, Stephanie, weighed just 1 pound and 12 ounces at birth and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, the hospital went bankrupt in 2010, so the payout is limited to the insurance coverage of $16 million.
  • Jaylan Norfleet vs. Maryland hospital: $21 million award. Doctors at a Maryland hospital prolonged a natural vaginal birth, rather than opting for a quicker C-section, thus causing Jaylan Norfleet to lose oxygen while in the womb. His brain functions normally, but he has limited use of his legs and cannot perform fine motor tasks like writing.
  • Enzo Martinez vs. Johns Hopkins Hospital: $55 million award. A Baltimore jury found Johns Hopkins Hospital liable for a baby’s cerebral palsy after a series of C-section mistakes. The mother had originally planned on a homebirth, but was rushed to the hospital for an emergency Cesarean. Surprisingly, it took medical staff two hours to get her into the operating room.

Notable cerebral palsy settlements

  • Plaintiffs vs. Salina Regional Health Center: $4.72 million settlement. Doctor error and substandard medical care were to blame for a child born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Even though the fetal heart rate monitor showed signs of umbilical cord compression with every contraction, the medical staff took no further action. At the time of delivery, the baby’s heart rate was down to just 60 beats per minute and the baby was born blue and nearly lifeless.
  • Plaintiffs vs. New Hampshire Hospital: $5 million settlement.  A stressful delivery resulted in the birth of a severely oxygen-deprived boy who now requires round-the-clock care for his cerebral palsy disability. The doctor was found liable for failing to perform a C-section at the first signs of fetal distress. A $5 million cerebral palsy settlement was reached before trial.
  • Plaintiffs vs. Anonymous Hospital: $1.4 million malpractice settlement. A 2004 cerebral palsy lawsuit settled out of court for $1.4 million when it was discovered the doctor was negligent with the mother’s prenatal care. The doctor failed to treat her for incompetent cervix, one of the known risk factors for cerebral palsy babies. The baby was born after just 26 weeks of gestation.
  • Plaintiffs vs. Anonymous Hospital: $3 million cerebral palsy settlement.  A 36-year-old mother with a history of previous C-sections found out that her baby had a significantly slower heart rate in the 39th week of her pregnancy. However, her C-section was delayed because there wasn’t room in the emergency room for her to deliver. Despite continued signs of fetal distress, medical staff failed to intervene, causing the baby to eventually be born with brain damage, hemorrhaging, and cerebral palsy.
  • Plaintiffs vs. Chicago Hospital: $13 million settlement.  The night before the scheduled trial, a Chicago hospital offered a large settlement of $13 million for supplying a woman in labor with the “house doctor” who had no formal training in obstetrics. The baby was born in a depressed state with severe oxygen deprivation and cerebral palsy.
  • Tom & Donna Tribble vs. Christ Medical Center: $7.5 million settlement.  The grandparents and legal guardians of a 9-year-old with cerebral palsy reached a settlement after Chicago medical staff failed to be attentive and act quickly given signs of fetal distress during birth. Even though the hospital claimed no wrongdoing in this incident, the cerebral palsy lawsuit settled for $7.5 million without going to trial.

How cerebral palsy settlement & award amounts are determined

No parents want to sue a medical facility for damages, but in many cases the victims and their families have no choice. The medical costs associated with raising a child with cerebral palsy are staggering. At minimum, the lifetime cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy amounts to at least $1.175 million to provide for physician visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, assistive devices, therapies, rehabilitation and long-term care. On top of that, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in special education and indirect expenses like loss of productivity, inability to work and premature mortality. Plaintiffs can ask for money to cover both direct and indirect losses, as well as compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering.

Eisbrouch Marsh is here to help

At the law firm of Eisbrouch Marsh we are passionate about pursuing justice for medical malpractice victims and their families. Our cerebral palsy lawyers have more than four decades of experience going up against large insurance companies in birth injury cases – and winning. We understand that the situation is emotional, confusing and difficult to manage on your own. That is why legal case reviews are always free and plaintiffs never pay a dime unless a cerebral palsy settlement is reached or a jury award is handed down at trial. Our team also has a full suite of support staff, including a full-time registered nurse.

  1. CDC – Economic costs associated with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, hearing loss & vision impairment,

  2. Boston Globe, Baby's brain damage leads to record jury judgment,

  3. Fox News, Jury Awards $10 Million in Ambulance Birth,