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Teen with cerebral palsy recovers $100 million for hospital error

The family of a New York teen who suffers cerebral palsy because of a premature birth recovered $100 million in a lawsuit against a hospital for medical malpractice.

The 17-year-old plaintiff and her twin sister were born 3 months early after the hospital failed to give adequate care, according to their attorney. One twin survived the birth unscathed, but her sister suffered a brain injury which resulted in cerebral palsy. Now she is wheelchair bound and severely disabled.

The court found that the hospital staff was negligent and failed to recognize the mother's contractions before she went into labor. Had they followed normal standards of care, they could have prevented premature delivery. Two doctors were also named in the lawsuit but found not liable for damages.

The verdict was the largest in the history of the jurisdiction, awarding $17 million for past pain and suffering and $60 million for future pain and suffering. The family was also awarded for past and future medical costs. The family hopes that the money will cover necessary treatment and care, as well as give her the freedom to do more with her life. An attorney representing the hospital estimated total damages as less than the verdict and plans to appeal.

The mother of the victim said that she had always blamed herself for not recognizing symptoms of delivery sooner. The verdict relieved her and she felt vindicated after 17 years of guilt for her daughter's ailments.

Source: New York Post, "Family of SI cerebral palsy teen wins $100M lawsuit against birth hospital," Josh Saul, Aug. 25, 2012

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