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New Jersey Jury Awards $19M for Delayed Delivery Resulting in Cerebral Palsy

Brandon, a 10 year old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy, severe brain damage and blindness as a result of an obstetrician delaying in the diagnosis of his mother’s pregnancy complications in 1997 was awarded $19M by a Monmouth County Jury after 2 days of deliberations. The jury heard evidence that Brandon’s mother, Bonnie, was 30 weeks pregnant when she began complaining of abdominal pain. Bonnie called her OB/GYN after the pain started and was instructed to go to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, where her OB/GYN concluded she was likely suffering from appendicitis. The OB/GYN requested that a general surgeon remove the appendix before the OB/GYN ran tests to determine the cause of her abdominal pain and despite readings on a fetal monitor attached to Bonnie that showed the baby was in distress.

More disturbing, the jury heard testimony that a nurse on duty at the time the appendix removal surgery was being planned and performed warned the OB/GYN that the monitoring strips showed a problem with the baby. Further, the nurse felt so strongly that the baby was in danger that when the doctor refused to listen to her concerns, she went to to her charge nurse and then to the hospital’s nursing supervisor seeking to have an emergency Cesarean section performed on Bonnie to save the baby. Instead of listening to the nurse, the OB/GYN and the general surgeon removed the appendix, only to find that it was normal, but Bonnie’s abdomen was filled with 3.5 liters of blood, which is half the amount of blood an average woman has in her entire body.

Ultimately, a c-section was performed to deliver Brandon more than one and a half hours after the appendix surgery began. At birth, Brandon had no muscle tone and required extensive medical intervention to live, including a four month hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit. An expert medical witness testified to the jury that if Brnadon had been delivered even half an hour sooner, he would have been medically normal. The OB/GYN continues to assert that his care was appropriate and that Bonnie’s complication was “incredibly rare” and is seeking a new trial and possibly an appeal.

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