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A jury in Baltimore, Maryland recently awarded $8 million to the parents of Caleb Spence, finding the boy's obstetrician-gynecologist liable for his cerebral palsy. The events surrounding Caleb's birth in March of 2003 at Baltimore's Mercy Medical Center left him with brain damage, and he died in 2004. Under Maryland law, non-economic damages are capped, and the award will thus be reduced to $2.2 million.
The attorney for Caleb's parents, Wycinna and Christopher Spence, argued in the nine-day trial that the OB-Gyn, Dr. Emerson Julian, made the following mistakes:
No Heart Rate or Breathing at Birth
Caleb was not breathing and had no heart rate when he was born that night. He spent about a month in the Medical Center, and was then cared for by Wycinna's parents while both parents worked. He died in March 2004.
The Medical Center Settled
Dr. Julian's attorney, Ronald Shaw of Shaw & Morrow said that he would appeal the decision and was considering suing the Mercy Medical Center, which was originally one of the defendants in the birth injury case. The Medical Center settled with the plaintiffs before the trial. Shaw said that the Medical Center had used a Swigert release rather than a joint tortfeasor release, which would have made it jointly liable with Dr. Julian.
Caleb's father Christopher said after the verdict, "What happened that night and what we believe is the truth is now public record…irrespective of the decision today, there are certain things that we will carry for life."
Does your child have cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice? Contact a cerebral palsy attorney to protect your legal rights.