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Jury award parents $11M in medical malpractice suit

Many New Jersey residents suffer from medical malpractice incidents every day. A medical mistake may have a variety of impacts on a patient ranging from slight discomfort to wrongful death. Medical negligence is perhaps most distressing when it impacts families with small children and many small children suffer preventable deaths and chronic illnesses that are attributable to the negligence of a medical care provider.

One woman was recently awarded $11 million in a medical malpractice case brought against doctors and nurses who failed to recognize and act on her premature daughter’s infection. The woman’s eight-day-old daughter died of a bowel infection called necrotizing enterocolitis, and the mother maintains that her daughter’s death was preventable.

“For me, it’s not about the money,” the mother said. “It’s about accountability, responsibility and change. It’s a huge relief for us that she didn’t die for nothing. At least now, she can save other babies’ lives by making doctors pay more attention and focus on potential problems.”

The mother is also a nurse and knew that something was wrong with her daughter when she walked into a hospital room and found her unresponsive. The medical providers did not react appropriately to the serious situation and waited too long to intervene in the infant’s deteriorating condition.

“They overlooked a lot of issues, associating it as normal preemie behavior,” the mother said. “Her death was premature and preventable, and that’s exactly what was read by the jury. To save other babies I had to sacrifice mine.”

Unfortunately medical mistakes before and immediately after birth are very common. Some attorneys have recently argued that there should be a $1 million standard award of damages to mothers who have stillborn children as a result of medical malpractice.

Source: Salem News, “Parents awarded $11M after death of infant daughter,” Bethany Bray, Sept. 2, 2011; New York Times, “After Stillbirth, Courts Try to Put a Price on a Mother’s Anguish,” William Glaberson, Aug. 23, 2011

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