A Boston jury awarded $26.5 million to a young boy who suffered profound brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during his labor. Fetal testing before admission had been entirely normal, and the mother was admitted for induction of labor due to worsening hypertension. The fetal heart tracings were normal on admission, but over the next 24 hours showed increasingly worrisome abnormalities. When he was finally delivered by a different obstetrician several hours later, he was severely depressed and had Apgar scores of 6 and 7. He developed apnea and seizures in the neonatal intensive care nursery and a CT scan the day after birth showed extensive brain swelling. At the time of trial, the boy was 10 years old and had been diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. He is legally blind, fed through a tube, cannot talk, and has minimal voluntary movements. He requires total care, which is provided by his parents.
After two and a half days of deliberation, the jury found the two residents liable for the child’s brain injury. The jury awarded a total of $26.5 million, including $9.5 million for pain and suffering, $2 million for loss of earning capacity, and $15 million for future medical expenses. The award, which stands as the largest malpractice verdict in Massachusetts, totaled approximately $39.7 million with interest.