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Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit May Resolve with $9 Million Settlement

medical malpracticeThe family of a Virginia boy with cerebral palsy hopes to finalize an agreed $9 million settlement. A federal judge has approved the proposed settlement in a Hawaii birth injury lawsuit that was filed in 2012. To be finalized, however, the settlement must first receive the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The parties reached an agreement on the settlement early last year. However, they could not carry out the settlement, which involves a federal hospital, until the terms were approved by the authorities. But the Department of Justice ultimately rejected the proposed agreement in January 2015.

As the parties re-visited the settlement discussions earlier this month, this time with all-cash settlement terms, the federal judge once again approved it. However, the settlement, again, requires approval by the Department of Justice. The parties are hopeful of a resolution but are preparing for trial in case of another rejection.

Cerebral palsy lawsuit alleges hospital negligence

The injured boy, the young son of a member of the Coast Guard, was born on November 9, 2010. He was delivered at Tripler Army Medical Center, a Honolulu medical hospital. During delivery, he suffered a “catastrophic brain injury” which was allegedly caused by hospital negligence.

The lawsuit alleges several instances where the hospital failed to meet the proper standard of medical care, including failing to act promptly to manage the delivery. According to the lawsuit, the hospital waited too long to perform a C-section and overlooked signs pointing to a uterine rupture.

Delivery complicated by uterine rupture

When the boy’s mother arrived at the hospital at 35 weeks into her pregnancy, she had severe lower abdominal pain. Because of her previous history of miscarriage and the complicated delivery of her first child, the mother had undergone a procedure to keep her uterus closed until delivery and the pregnancy was under close supervision. However, when she arrived at the hospital, the hospital failed to notify and consult her obstetrician.

Tripler did eventually perform an emergency C-section to deliver the boy. However, according to the complaint, by the time the doctors performed the C-section, the baby had already suffered brain damage caused by reduced oxygen flow to the brain.

The high cost of cerebral palsy

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the medical costs for a child with cerebral palsy are 10 times higher than for a child without cerebral palsy. The medical costs for a child with both cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability are approximately 26 times higher than the medical costs for an unaffected child.

The Virginia boy’s parents anticipate that their son will require 24-hour-a-day care for the rest of his life. The tentative settlement would provide his family with an immediate lump sum of $5 million and an additional $4 million paid out over the remainder of the boy’s life.

The cerebral palsy lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next month. With no estimate on how long the associate attorney general may take to approve the settlement, the boy’s attorneys have refused to reschedule the trial in hopes that the upcoming date will act as leverage to have the settlement approved.

  1. Hawaii News Now, Family seeks $9 million in alleged botch birth,

  2. Star Advisor, Tripler to pay $9M settlement for boy’s cerebral palsy,

  3. Military Times, Judge OKs $9M for Honolulu military hospital lawsuit,

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Data & Statistics for Cerebral Palsy,