A family in Lehigh County, West Virginia has been awarded $55 million by a jury after suing their hospital and doctors for making mistakes during their son’s birth which allegedly caused him to develop cerebral palsy.
Mark Crowell and Sharon Petrosky Crowell filed the lawsuit against St. Luke’s University Hospital and Dr. Ronald Kirner. The complaint alleged that during the birth of their son, Matthew, in November 2009, Dr. Kirner failed to notice signs that Matthew wasn’t getting enough oxygen. According to the lawsuit, Matthew was a large baby and became stuck in his mother’s birth canal, causing Matthew to lose oxygen and his mother to begin hemorrhaging. Instead of performing an emergency surgery, such as a Caesarean section, Dr. Kirner used vacuum extraction to dislodge the baby, causing him to be further deprived of oxygen.
Dr. Kirner’s actions allegedly caused permanent injuries to Matthew, who now suffers from cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to a child’s brain that can affect learning ability, physical movement and other disabilities.
The jury awarded the Crowells $55 million in personal injury damages to compensate for their son’s injuries. However, despite the jury award, the family is unlikely to receive such a large amount. The Crowell’s reached a settlement agreement with the hospital and doctor just before the verdict came down, receiving an undisclosed amount of compensation and preempting the jury award.
The plaintiffs were represented by Paul Lauricella of the law firm McLaughlin and Lauricella, P.C.
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