A young mother whose reliance on hospital staff led to significant birth injuries to her child has prevailed in the birth injury lawsuit she filed against Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The jury in the case awarded the mother and child a total of more than $229.6 million in compensation for past medical expenses, lost earnings, non-economic damages and future damages.
The birth injury case, which was heard over two weeks in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, detailed what happened on the night of October 20th, 2014, when 16-year-old Erica Byrom was admitted to Southern Maryland Hospital Center in labor. Her pregnancy was only at 25-weeks gestation, which raised concerns about prematurity, and when an examination revealed signs of preeclampsia she was transferred via helicopter to Johns Hopkins.
Staff Providers’ Warnings Accused of Causing Birth Injury
According to testimony provided in the birth injury lawsuit, when Byrom arrived at Johns Hopkins Bayview the health care providers there gave her inaccurate information about her infant’s prognosis. Relying upon the information that the staff provided, she chose an unmonitored vaginal delivery rather than a cesarean section that expert witnesses said would have been more likely to have resulted in a healthy infant.
The staff had warned that the outcome of her pregnancy was likely to include neurological defects, paralysis and blindness. Based on their feedback she elected against a c-section, ceased fetal monitoring and ended up having her labor induced. The infant was born with no heart rate or ability to breathe: she was intubated and resuscitated, and later diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy.
In addition to the testimony given by experts during the birth injury trial, the hospital staff providers testified that they had been so concerned about media attention following the poor outcome that she had discussed the birth with senior administrators at the hospital. This apparently convinced the jury that the hospital was aware of its own wrongdoing, despite their arguments to the contrary and them claiming the injury occurred prior to the mother’s arrival at the hospital. The verdict awarded $3.62 million for medical expenses already incurred, $1.02 million in lost earnings, $25 million in non-economic damages and $200 million in future damages.