North Carolina's medical facilities are expected to provide timely emergency medical treatment in order to prevent a devastating medical error. Unfortunately, when medical providers do not act quickly enough, their mistake can lead to a permanent medical injury.
One woman and her husband received tough news during her birth. The expecting mother was using the services of a midwife when complications arose during delivery. An ambulance was immediately contacted and the mother was rushed to a nearby hospital for an emergency caesarian section. Though they arrived at the hospital quickly, the woman and her child were forced to wait two hours before they received necessary medical attention.
By the time the couple arrived at the hospital, the baby was ready to be delivered. When the child was born with a severe birth injury, it became apparent that the doctors had waited far too long to perform the emergency surgery. What was a frightening day became much more difficult.
The 2-year-old boy currently suffers from severe developmental disorders. Since the time of the boy's birth, his parents took the hospital to court for their negligence. The jury came back in favor of the family and awarded them $55 million for medical malpractice.
The hospital responded with defiance: Officials say they believe that standard care protocols were followed, so they plan on appealing the court's decision.
The court awarded such a large sum of money because they took a look at how much it will cost to provide necessary medical care for the young boy throughout his life. However, in the state of North Carolina, there are caps on medical malpractice awards, so anytime plaintiffs have a successful claim, their compensation may be statutorily limited.
Despite the limitations of state laws, North Carolina residents are still able to defend their expectation of high-quality, competent medical care in court. By working alongside an experienced attorney, families can learn of their legal rights and seek compensation for economic and emotional damages caused by a hospital's or doctor's negligence.
When the mother in this particular case found out that her son would only be able to smile, she was frustrated. Reflecting on this original sentiment, she commented, "Now, I understand that's incredible."
Source: WBAL-TV, "Jury Awards Family $55 Million in Medical Malpractice Suit," Phil Yacuboski, June 26, 2012