Record $229M Medical Malpractice Award

On July 1, 2019, a Baltimore jury awarded Erica Byrom and her daughter, Zubida, $229.6M which is the largest medical malpractice verdict ever awarded in the U.S. While state laws cap malpractice verdicts, plaintiff’s attorney, Mary Koch, reports that it is still a record sum.  Erica Byrom was admitted to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in October 2014 with severe preeclampsia which can lead to serious complications for both mothers and babies. The 16-year-old mother was told by Johns Hopkins doctors that her baby would die or suffer brain damage. With that information, Byrom did not feel it was urgent to deliver Zubida via cesarean section.

Unfortunately, delaying the birth contributed to her daughter’s brain injury. Two minutes after delivery, Zubida had no heart rate and wasn’t breathing. The baby’s brain was damaged by a lack of oxygen during her delivery which resulted in cerebral palsy. She now requires round-the-clock care. Plaintiff’s lawyers said that the initial prognosis at the hospital was mistaken and doctors could have avoided brain damage if they had performed the cesarean section. Zubida’s legal team argued that the doctor’s decision to not recommend the C-section resulted in brain injuries to the baby which have lifelong effects. The case is Zubida Byrom, et al vs John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Inc., Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case Number: 24C18002909. Case Type: Medical Malpractice, Filing Date: 05/04/2018.

The effects of hypoxic or anoxic brain injury, when the brain is starved of oxygen, can range from mild, short-term symptoms such as dizziness or concentration problems, through to severe, long-term issues including vision, speech and memory. writes:

While some of the causes of oxygen deprivation may be out of the control of healthcare providers, obstetricians, midwives, gynecologists, and labor and delivery staff are specially trained to manage labor and delivery, including recognizing problems. Failure to quickly recognize problems and provide solutions can result in significant damage to the infant’s body and brain…

Financially, the lifetime costs for individuals with cerebral palsy and/or other intellectual disabilities are estimated to be close to $1 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Conditions such as autism and epilepsy also may require significant financial resources in order to maintain a functioning quality of life for the individual.

Neonatology deals with the care and treatment of newborns during the first thirty days of life. This hospital-based specialty is practiced in the neonatal intensive care unit. Neonatologists are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine. Their typical patient is an ill newborn requiring complex, specialized care due to prematurity, low birth weight, congenital malformations, sepsis, birth injuries, or hypoxia.

Given the complexity involved in neonatology, an experienced board-certified expert from a top university medical center is an invaluable resource for challenging assignments. To retain a hand-selected neonatology expert witness who is ready to join your legal team, please contact Elite Medical Experts and speak with a physician or nurse on Elite’s experienced Case Strategy Team today.