Saturday, 5 May, 2012
An award of 78.5 million dollars in compensation for medical negligence due to faulty equipment has been made to a three-year-old boy by a jury in Philadelphia.
The jury at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas heard how the boy´s 36 weeks pregnant mother – Victoria Upsey (34) of Pottstown, Philadelphia – had been admitted to Pottstown Memorial Medical Centre with signs of a placental abruption in August 2008.
A foetal scan proved inconclusive and a bedside ultrasound scan was performed by the consulting obstetrician. The obstetrician failed to hear a heartbeat and declared that the baby had died, however when the ultrasound technician arrived at the hospital, a further examination was performed and a heartbeat was recorded.
Victoria´s son was delivered by an emergency Caesarean operation but, due to a delay of 81 minutes from the time the original ultrasound had taken place, her child was born with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy for which he will require life-long care.
The court was told that the mistake was made because the ultrasound machine at the Pottstown Memorial Medical Centre was an older model and did not have the sensitivity of modern equipment, however they also heard that it had not been serviced in the past ten years despite the operating manual stating that an annual service was required.
Finding the hospital guilty of medical negligence due to faulty equipment, the jury awarded the Upsey family a total of 78.5 million dollars to account for the suffering the child had experienced, his future care costs and loss of earnings, and to compensate Victoria for her emotional trauma.
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