A 2-year-old girl and her family were awarded $17 million for a medical
malpractice case presented against Bellevue Medical Center. The girl’s
mother claimed that the hospital and its worker failed to give her the
proper care needed for a safe birth. The Omaha woman started contractions
two days before her daughter’s birth on November 2, 2012. She was
brought into the hospital, where it is alleged that the workers failed
to ascertain the position of the fetus or how powerful the contractions were.
Because of the hospital’s alleged negligence, the newborn baby suffered
brain damage, oxygen deprivation, and brain compression, all of which
stunted the child’s ability to walk and talk and impaired her vision.
The jury decided to award $17 million for the mother and child’s
pain and suffering. The sum far exceeds the Nebraska damages cap, which
is set at $2.25 million.
The Nebraskan mother states that she will use the money for her daughter’s:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Medical Care
- Equipment for Care
This case is particularly insightful because it tests the statutes on how
much an individual can obtain from a medical malpractice suit. In Nebraska,
the cap for damages in medical malpractice cases is $2.25 million. At
the time of the young girl’s birth, the cap was actually $1.75 million.
Nebraska sets cap on both economic (past/future medical cost, income loss,
harm to earning capacity) and non-economic (pain, suffering, distress)
damages. The damage caps are enforced to manage the high cost of doing
business for service providers.
High priced medical malpractice cases can have a negative impact on the
economy. For example, if a doctor is sued for a large sum and the plaintiff
wins, then it is the insurance company that has to pay the amount awarded.
When the insurance company has to pay, they higher their insurance rates
for the doctors. In order to meet the new price, the doctors can start
charging the patients more. Damage caps are set in place to limit such
a cycle of events. The caps are also enforced to dissuade citizens from
suing over small injuries.
This case with the 2-year-old child challenges how much can be awarded
to a medical malpractice victim. The family’s attorney stated that
the award sum would not be reduced to match the cap because the hospital
failed to meet the obligations required to qualify for it.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical negligence, call Domina
Law Group. Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers can help review
your case, so schedule a consultation today!