Boy born prematurely wins $4 million verdict
Thursday, May 01, 2003
A Beaver County jury ruled doctors misdiagnosed pregnancy complications and awarded $4.1 million to a 6-year-old boy born prematurely and suffering from developmental problems as a result.
A Beaver County jury deliberated for two days before finding The Medical Center in Beaver and obstetrician Dr. James Crozier negligent yesterday in Randy Charles Ross' March 29, 1997, birth.
According to court documents, the boy's mother, Catherine Ross, of Monaca, called Crozier the day before the birth and told the doctor she had pain from her waist up and was vomiting.
According to the lawsuit, Crozier told her she was suffering from tension and told her to go to the emergency room at The Medical Center in Beaver, about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
At the hospital Ross waited for about 6 1/2 hours in the emergency room before she was diagnosed with eclampsia, or seizures caused by a rise in blood pressure that can force early delivery of the baby, sometimes endangering the lives of both mother and child.
Doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section and the boy was born 8 1/2 weeks premature.
Worldwide, pre-eclampsia -- a sudden increase in blood pressure in late pregnancy -- and eclampsia occur in about 10 percent of pregnant women and account for about 12 percent of pregnancy-related deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The condition is more common in developing countries.
According to Harry Cohen, an attorney for the family, Randy eats with a feeding tube, suffers from heart and developmental problems and likely will not lead a normal life.
"Even if he's able to get a job someday, he's only going to be able to get an entry-level job," Cohen said. "He won't be able to do anything beyond that."
"I don't want people to think that this child hit the lottery, that he's some sort of winner ... He's going to have big problems down the road. He was hurt badly," Cohen said.
Cohen said the award will be placed in a court-supervised trust that can only be used for the boy. His past treatment has cost $400,000 and further treatment is expected to cost $350,000, Cohen said.
The boy's father, also named Randy Ross, declined comment last night.
Hospital officials were disappointed by the verdict and were considering whether to appeal, said spokesman Scott Monit.
Crozier could not be reached for comment. He joined doctors across the state this week in a walkout to protest high malpractice insurance
rates. He did not return a message left at his office and did not have a listed home phone number.
May 1, '03
Thirty two years ago with my second child my BP surged I had ++edema, and my doc sent me to the hospital . I drove myself....sheesh. Baby was post mature and fine BTW.
I don't see what this doctor did that was so wrong if we're getting the whole story.
Edited to add:
Decision assigned 10% blame to the doc 90% blame to the hospital. Doc is not available for comment because he is participating in walkout code blue to protest malpractice costs.
Last edit by P_RN on May 1, '03
May 1, '03
Of course, we don't know the full story. But as it reads, the hospital ER should be liable for ignoring the woman and the doctor acted accordingly. What was he supposed to do, rush over to her house? He told her to go to the ER, which was the right thing to do.
When I worked for the military, a mom came into L & D at 34 weeks, saying she had "headaches." They took her blood pressure, and it was so high that it was hard to get a reading. The staff got her into bed, and then she seized. Anyway, she died and the baby was saved. Terrible story, but as it turns out, her husband said that she had been complaining of headaches and dizziness, but refused to go to the doctor and get checked. So who knows how long this woman involved in the lawsuit may have waited before finally calling her doctor. It sounds like her symptoms were pretty bad, and that normally just doesn't happen all of a sudden. She may have been having symptoms for weeks, and ignoring them. That doesn't excuse the ER for not checking her out right away, of course, but people do need to assume some responsibility for their health.
Last edit by roxannekkb on May 1, '03