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Judge upholds record medical malpractice award

The damages in medical malpractice cases in Ohio and around the country are often high because the patients who are affected may require costly medical treatment for the rest of their lives. This is especially true when the victim is an infant. In July, a jury in Maryland awarded the mother of a baby who was born in 2014 with brain injuries $229 million in damages. The award, which was more than the plaintiff had asked for, was subsequently upheld by a judge but reduced to $205 million due to a state cap.

The jury heard that doctors at a leading Baltimore hospital mistakenly told the woman that her baby was not viable. Based on this erroneous advice, the woman decided not to get a C-section and hospital staff discontinued monitoring the fetus. The female baby was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after her birth. The condition has been linked to a lack of oxygen to her brain prior to childbirth. Experts say the complication could have been avoided if the fetus had been monitored.

The $205 million verdict, which is said to be America's largest ever medical malpractice award, reflects the around-the-clock care the girl will need for the rest of her life. A hospital representative said the care the woman received met medical standards and she was made aware of the potential consequences of her decisions. The hospital has announced that it plans to file an appeal.

Expert witnesses provide testimony in medical malpractice lawsuits because the issues involved can be difficult for juries to understand. This is one of the reasons these cases can be costly to litigate. Attorneys who are representing victims may seek to avoid protracted legal battles by resolving medical malpractice claims at the negotiating table, and they could point to verdicts like this one when doctors and hospitals or their insurance providers are reluctant to settle.

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