For many, starting a family is one of the most joyous times of their life. Individuals and couples wait 9 months for the arrival of their child and although many pregnancies and deliveries go smoothly, others do not.
While modern medicine has advanced to a point where many medical conditions can be successfully treated, those conditions can only be treated if the correct diagnosis is made. For one family, despite their efforts to share their concerns with physicians, a diagnosis came too late.
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After only eight hours, a New York jury determined that two plaintiffs should be awarded $26 million for the losses they sustained due to several doctors mistakes.
In 2010, the Brooklyn couple made the decision to go to Maimonides Medical Center because the wife, who was 20 weeks pregnant at the time with twins, was experiencing cramping and spotting. Both parents were extremely concerned and expressed those concerns to the doctor. They also informed the doctor that they had difficulty getting pregnant in the first place and that initially, three eggs had been fertilized but the decision was made to keep only two because of the difficulties associated with carrying triplets.
On Feb 9th, 2010, they arrived at the hospital and were assigned to a resident who would later testify that typically she would have seen a more senior physician, however, the hospital was so busy that residents were sent to work on their own. The resident decided the cramping and spotting was nothing to worry about and sent the couple home.
Later in the evening, her bleeding became worse so they returned to the hospital only to be assigned another resident who stated there were “no changes” and send them home a second time. Concerned, she called the doctor who they had just seen and were told to “not worry”.
Trusting that the doctors knew what they were talking about, the couple stayed home and didn’t return to the hospital until they were next scheduled for a sonogram on Feb 17th. That’s when they learned the horrible truth - the babies were in serious danger and one of the twins was already crowning.
After being shifted to different departments for the next week while doctors applied every labor stalling tactic possible, the twin girls were born on Feb 28th, much earlier than any child should be delivered. They weighed only 1.5 pounds each. Within a month, one of the twins died from an infection. The other has survived, however, she is deaf, unable to speak, and suffers from kidney failure.
The parents decided to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital alleging that negligence occurred and that if the early labor had been caught earlier it could have been properly stalled. After hearing evidence from both the plaintiffs and the defendants, the jury sided with the parents and determined they should be awarded $26 million - twice the amount the plaintiffs were seeking.
Whenever a doctor fails to follow the accepted standard of care, it is possible that they have committed medical malpractice. However, as simple as this sounds, it can still be difficult to determine if malpractice took place.
The accepted standard of care changes from patient to patient simply because no two patients are alike and treatments can be changed depending on weight, sex, age, and other medical conditions. This is why it’s so important for doctors to pay attention to even the smallest of details and treat each case as unique.
The best way to determine if medical malpractice occurred is to consult with an attorney who can review the case and collect further evidence which may be impossible for the patient to collect.