A tentative $9 million settlement has been reached in a case involving a Virginia boy with cerebral palsy and his family against the Honolulu military hospital where he was born, according to attorneys for the boy and his family. One of the attorneys, Loretta Sheehan, said the amount, which was placed on the record on Monday in federal court in Honolulu, must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice before it is declared final. Noah Whitney, the boy that is the basis of the lawsuit, was born in 2010 at Tripler Army Medical Center. His family’s lawsuit alleges that he was born with “catastrophic brain injury” because of medical negligence. The lawsuit includes allegations of failing to respond properly to signs and symptoms of uterine rupture and waiting too long to perform a cesarean section.
Noah’s mother, Laura, arrived at the hospital on September 7, 2010, when she was about thirty-five weeks pregnant, and complained of extreme lower abdominal pain. Laura’s pregnancy was closely monitored because she had experienced previous miscarriages and a complicated birthing process to have her first child, Evan. The lawsuit, which was filed in July 2012, states that Laura “was at risk for uterine rupture in connection with future pregnancies, including her pregnancy with Noah.” Based on this risk, the lawsuit alleges that there was a “failure to promptly notify and consult the obstetrician who had been managing” Laura’s pregnancy. Noah’s family blamed Tripler Army Medical Center for Noah’s serious brain injury. In the lawsuit, they stated that Noah “will require 24 hour per day care for the remainder of his life.”
Neither Tripler nor the assistant U.S. Attorney representing the government in the case have commented. Hazel Beh, a University of Hawaii law school professor, stated that medical malpractice settlements serve as a way for consumers to obtain information in an industry where it is often difficult to obtain information. However, the settlements are often confidential, except when a government agency is involved in the case. Beh commented, “It probably skews the perception for sure because you’ve got private entities that can keep it private. Certainly, the public has interests in these suits, as taxpayers.”
Lawyers: $9M settlement for boy’s cerebral palsy www.palmbeachpost.com January 29, 2013
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