Birth Injury – Brain Damage – Perinatal Asphyxia

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NCLW Trial Reports 1996

Medical Malpractice

Birth Injury – Brain Damage – Perinatal Asphyxia

Type of Case: Medical malpractice

Type of Injuries/Damages: Brain damage and profound mental retardation, with moderate cerebral palsy. Permanent loss of income with lifetime attendant care.

Age of Plaintiff: Four-years-old at time of trial. Injuries occurred at birth.

Court/Case No.: Whitfield, GAL, et al. v. Snipes, et al.; Cumberland County Superior Court

Awarded/Settled: Tried

Date Case Concluded: December 13, 1988

Judge or Jury: Jury

Name of Judge: F. Gordon Battle

Amount: $3,533,000, consisting of $3,500,000 for guardian, $33,000 for father.

Highest Pre-Verdict Offer: $350,000

Insurance Carrier: Medical Mutual Insurance Company of North Carolina

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff: Wade E. Byrd and H. Dolph Berry, BERRY & BYRD, Fayetteville

Other Useful Information: The father waived all recovery in favor of guardian except for past medical expenses and loss of services. Child never brought into courtroom, used day-in-the-life movie. Primary issue was causation. Plaintiffs contended brain damage due to asphyxia. Defendants contended brain damage due to a Torch infection in utero.

Due to a multitude of factors, plaintiffs decided to settle with the defendant hospital for $50,000 prior to their presentation of evidence. It was the opinion of plaintiffs that hospital’s negligence amounted to a small percentage of negligence committed, and it was also felt by plaintiffs if any defendant’s presence were to reduce the amount of the verdict, it would be that of the local county hospital.

Prejudgment interest raised the total value of the verdict to $3,900,000.

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