Connecticut has just seen what’s being heralded as the largest medical malpractice verdict in state history, with the parents of 8-year-old Daniel D’Attilo being awarded $58 million on his behalf. As an Atlanta injury lawyer, I can tell you that although Georgia has seen substantial verdicts against doctors in these cases, I cannot recall a verdict of this size against a single physician. The damages stem from their obstetrician’s decision to delay their son’s delivery back in 2003. The young D’Attilo now suffers from cerebral palsy due to brain injuries sustained when the practitioner waited days after Cathy D’Attilo’s amniotic fluid dropped before performing a botched Caesarian section, claim attorneys for the family. Of the damages awarded, $8 million is designated to cover medical expenses, while the remainder was awarded to the family for pain and suffering.
In a statement to the Associated Press, the doctor’s attorney, James Rosenblum, indicated that the jury’s decision was made more out of sympathy than evidence and suggested that his client would appeal what he called a “shocking verdict.” Other physicians have voiced concerns that this verdict will deter doctors from taking on high-risk cases like this one in the future.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, cerebral palsy is a lifelong disorder, often requiring long-term care. Although its causes are not always discernable, symptoms usually appear before a child turns 2 and, in rare cases, as early as 3 months. Cerebral palsy is caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain and often manifests as impairment to nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking.
Most of these problems occur as the baby develops in the womb, but they can also happen at any time during the first 2 years of life and, in many cases, are not preventable. Sometimes, parts of the brain are injured due to a restricted flow of oxygen (hypoxia). While it is not known why this occurs, increased occurrences following childbirth are prompting calls for an increase in proper prenatal care.
As this verdict suggests, persons who have been the victim of medical malpractice are entitled to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys know that it is important to pursue such claims as soon as possible, due to the complexity of medical malpractice actions.