New Jersey Doctor Loses Appeal of $20 Million MedMal Verdict
A New Jersey doctor lost his appeal after a twin was born with serious birth defects. The lawsuit was filed in 2015. The doctor appealed the $20 million verdict and recently lost that appeal. In this article, we’ll discuss the lawsuit and the legal issues it brought up.
The mother was referred to a fetal medicine specialist during her pregnancy in 2006. The lawsuit centered on whether the fetal medicine specialist correctly diagnosed signs of fetal distress when he became aware of the issue. The child was born with severe brain damage after being deprived of oxygen in the womb for an extended period of time.
The parents alleged that a failure to diagnose fetal distress in time resulted in the child being born with severe brain damage. The parents sued the doctor and won a $20 million judgment. The doctor who misdiagnosed the fetal distress was found to be 30% at fault for the case, so his share of the liability equaled out to $6.59 million.
At some point during the trial, the doctor’s attorney became ill. The doctor requested a new trial and was denied. He appealed the decision and then lost the appeal. The doctor argued that the judge should have declared a mistrial after his lawyer became sick.
Birth Injuries and Signs of Fetal Distress
Doctors are expected to provide a basic standard of care for all patients they treat. In this case, the plaintiffs successfully argued that the doctor had failed to meet the prevailing standard of care.
In December, the doctor performed a scan of the twins and found both to be in good health. Three months later, however, he noticed a discrepancy between the sizes of the twins. The doctor noted that the abdomen of one of the fetuses was “significantly smaller” than the other’s suggesting that there was a restriction somewhere. The doctor performed a biophysical profile and assessed the blood flow of the placentas. Both were found to be normal. However, because the sizes of the twins were different, he recommended biweekly tests. The primary obstetrician, however, allegedly never followed up on these recommendations because he did not place any diagnostic value on the tests the doctor performed and the other test was normal. When the patient presented at the end of the month, he recommended she deliver immediately.
In this case, the doctor felt that because he recommended the correct treatment, the malpractice should have fallen entirely on the shoulders of the primary obstetrician. Meanwhile, the obstetrician said he was relying on the fetal care specialist who believed he was only a consultant.
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If you’ve been injured due to the substandard care of a medical doctor, call the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorneys at Masterson, Hoag & Smith today to learn more about how we can help.