Jury Awards $58.6 million for OB/GYN mistake

  1. 1
    original article located here

    a norwalk couple was awarded $58.6 million wednesday, a record for a single incident of medical malpractice in connecticut, in a case involving an obstetrician accused of waiting too long to perform a cesarean section and a boy who was permanently brain-damaged.
    some of the comments at the bottom of the page are interesting, some are downright stupid.

    what are your thoughts?
    lindarn likes this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 47 Comments...

  3. 20
    Geez, how do you sue someone over a judgment call? No jury can know what a healthcare professional, with someone else's life in their hands, goes through when making decisions like that. It'd be one thing if these docs acted with malicious intent, but they seem to have followed protocol and things just didn't go their way. No one can tie down all the variables, especially when it comes to something as intricate, individually unique and complicated as the human body (or two or three working in synchrony!). Hope this gets overturned on appeal. People just can't accept any adverse turn of events anymore these days without suing the person standing next to them.
  4. 6
    Tort reform... we need it badly.
  5. 11
    It doesn't sound like there was any negligence or ineptitude involved, just bad luck. The only way this could have been prevented would be if we did away with vaginal deliveries all together. OB/GYN's are already heavily criticized for being too quick to do C-sections, now we're awarding families 50 million because an OB followed basic standards of care?

    I think juries often see this fair since MD's make 'millions' every year anyway, and it's there job to protect patients from every illness and injury imaginable regardless of what is avoidable and what is not. What juries and the public doesn't seem to understand is that we are all now going to pay that $50 million out of our own pockets; malpractice insurance for an OB is often $80,000 a year (due to claims such as these), which affects their insurance billing rates which then affects our premiums. The MD wasn't punished, people who pay taxes and insurance premiums were.
  6. 19
    Quote from MunoRN
    The MD wasn't punished, people who pay taxes and insurance premiums were.
    Exactly


    Another big point of contention has been the jury. What makes a jury of an MD's "peers"? Many laypeople do not have any sort of formal medical education, and base their views entirely on TV shows (For all they know, this doctor was making out with a nurse in the closet while the client was in labor).

    I saw another comment elsewhere that posed the thought: OB's are the most easily targeted for malpractice claims. All you need is some pictures of a dead/disabled kid, a crying mother, and a jury full of everyday citizens. By their own emotions they are going to side with the mother.

    I understand CP can be an expensive disability, but from what I've read I also understand that this OB followed policy/procedures. Bad things happen, it sucks, but that's the way it is sometimes. I think the baby came out blue and parents/lawyers saw dollar signs.
    bosnanurse, tablefor9, ohioSICUrn, and 16 others like this.
  7. 14
    Amen to the above.

    Every time I hear of something like this, the thought of what a jury of peers is vs. what the actual jury is made up of crosses my mind.

    If I can't get a diabetic to understand that consistently high sugars are damaging his organs, how on God's green Earth could those jurors have gotten enough education during the trial to determine whether or not the OB was even at enough fault for the $8.6 mil, let alone the additional $50?

    I wish I could bop some sense into people sometimes.

    We had a pt who coded, was brought back, and was getting ready to be d/c'd home. All she could talk about was how she already had a lawyer lined up to sue the hospital and staff for causing her pain b/c her ribs were broken during CPR. That's the average American nowadays I guess.
    Had a 92 year old who came in septic with multi-organ failure, eventually died at the hospital...family filed suit, saying that it was our facility's fault that he died.

    I wish there was some way to fix stupid.


    It doesn't help that there are all those lawyer ads on either. If you've been treated within the medical system at any point in your life, there's a lawyer willing to find something and take on your case.
    MissMcCoy, Scarlette Wings, IowaKaren, and 11 others like this.
  8. 3
    If this does not stop there will be no one who will take on the healthcare career in the USA. It will not be worth it. Almost not worth it now. Everyone sues everyone. It this Dr. had taken the baby via c-sect too early and something happened would have also been sued. It was a no win situation. Who wants odds like that?
    IowaKaren, wooh, and BelleMorteRN like this.
  9. 9
    I don't agree with the decision made by the jury, however I think it is sickening to automatically assume that he mother of this child "saw dollars signs". I highly doubt when her baby came out blue she thought to herself "hell yeah! Now I can buy a new car!"

    All this talk is going around about how the jury is not medically trained and therefore can not make an accurate judgement in the case, but we have to understand that the family of this child is not medically trained either, and I'm sure there is no way to assure them that something did not go wrong. They can talk to 10 different doctors and all of those doctors will have a different opinion on what could have been done differently, if anything.

    Right now I am looking at my little girl in the pool and reading this brings me back to when she was born. I had problems and they were going to induce me about a week early. Well I get all settled into my room thinking I would have the baby the next day and the doctor calls and says they are going to do an emergency csection in 30 mins!!! I didn't know what was going on, and there wasn't even enough time to ask questions and get answers so I had to trust my doctor. Fortunately I don't have to spend the rest of my life wondering if my doctor "jumped the gun" or did it too late.
    gigigriff, MissMcCoy, IowaKaren, and 6 others like this.
  10. 6
    Quote from SoldierNurse22
    Geez, how do you sue someone over a judgment call? No jury can know what a healthcare professional, with someone else's life in their hands, goes through when making decisions like that. It'd be one thing if these docs acted with malicious intent, but they seem to have followed protocol and things just didn't go their way. No one can tie down all the variables, especially when it comes to something as intricate, individually unique and complicated as the human body (or two or three working in synchrony!). Hope this gets overturned on appeal. People just can't accept any adverse turn of events anymore these days without suing the person standing next to them.

    Who cares what they "go through"? When someone is damaged, it costs money to take care of them. Good feelings, reasonableness - these do not buy diapers, therapy, wheelchairs, hospital beds, remodeling of the home to accommodate the handicapped person, and on and on and on and on and on and on, etc.

    Doctors go to school and do a residency. yes, they're fallible and human, sure they agonize over many dilemmas and have to use judgment, no they're not always right. The outcome is horrendous when they guess wrongly.

    What about what the family has to "go through" and what the direct victim of the doctor's error has to "go through"?

    If any reform is needed, it should be in the amount the lawyers get from the plaintiffs. Reduce that to about 10%, down from the standard 33%. Now that would be reform.
    MissMcCoy, IowaKaren, BelleMorteRN, and 3 others like this.
  11. 1
    Quote from mama_d
    Amen to the above.

    Every time I hear of something like this, the thought of what a jury of peers is vs. what the actual jury is made up of crosses my mind.

    If I can't get a diabetic to understand that consistently high sugars are damaging his organs, how on God's green Earth could those jurors have gotten enough education during the trial to determine whether or not the OB was even at enough fault for the $8.6 mil, let alone the additional $50?

    I wish I could bop some sense into people sometimes.

    We had a pt who coded, was brought back, and was getting ready to be d/c'd home. All she could talk about was how she already had a lawyer lined up to sue the hospital and staff for causing her pain b/c her ribs were broken during CPR. That's the average American nowadays I guess.
    Had a 92 year old who came in septic with multi-organ failure, eventually died at the hospital...family filed suit, saying that it was our facility's fault that he died.

    I wish there was some way to fix stupid.


    It doesn't help that there are all those lawyer ads on either. If you've been treated within the medical system at any point in your life, there's a lawyer willing to find something and take on your case.
    Perhaps the problem with your diabetics is not lack of understanding. Maybe they just don't quite know what to do - which would be to eliminate from their diets everything but leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables and some protein. Forget all fruits except berries, a little olive oil, and absolutely not a single seed, nut, or grain. I know you can't be teaching them what I said.

    That's a tired old expression - "fix stupid". And your facility might have done something wrong at that in the case of the 92 y.o.

    I agree with the "peers" comment.
    lindarn likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top