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Large Massachusetts Jury Verdict in Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Case Attracts Attention

Mother in the hospital with newborn baby

A recent jury verdict returned in a medical negligence case tried in the Hampden Superior Court is making headlines across the state. According to media reports, the family of a girl, now 11, who was allegedly injured due to negligent medical treatment during her birth, sued six doctors who were involved in the mother’s obstetrical care at Baystate Medical Center. The center itself was not named in the lawsuit.

The media has reported that court documents indicate that the alleged acts of malpractice took place on September 5 and 6, back in 2004. At the time, the mother was 28 weeks pregnant and reportedly experiencing decreased fetal movement. She was admitted to the medical center and monitored overnight.

Accusations of Medical Negligence

Reportedly, the mother and baby seemed to be doing fine until about 5:30 pm on the evening of September 6. At some point thereafter, the baby’s heart rate allegedly dropped. She was eventually delivered by cesarean section, but she had to be resuscitated. Court documents indicate that she suffered a severe brain injury because of a lack of blood flow and oxygen. The girl is not able to speak or walk, she is legally blind, and she must be fed through a tube. The parents believed that the girl’s injuries could have been prevented, had she been delivered earlier.

The Jury’s Verdict

Of the six doctors named in the lawsuit, one was removed from the suit prior to trial, and the jury found that four of the remaining five physicians were not negligent. Those four doctors were reportedly residents at the time of the injuries complained of by the plaintiffs. As to the remaining doctor, Dr. David Seubert, the jury answered “yes” on the verdict form asking whether he was negligent and whether such negligence was a substantial contributing factor to the girl’s injuries. In total, the jury awarded the girl and her family $29.89 million. The award included compensation for the girl’s past and future physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of bodily function, loss of enjoyment of life, past and future medical expenses, and lost earning capacity. News reports indicate that Dr. Seubert was the physician on call and was, in fact, called at home. He reportedly chose not to come to the medical center at that time.

The Doctor’s Response

News reports also indicate that the defendant, who did not renew his Massachusetts medical license in 2011 and now practices in New York, is empathetic toward the girl and her family but is concerned that the “outsized financial judgment” sets a bad precedent and could lead to “troubling implications” for other practitioners. According to University of Rochester Medical Center website, Dr. Seubert is not only a licensed physician but also holds an MBA (master’s in business administration) and a JD (law degree). Presumably, he is the same Dr. David Seubert who wrote an affirmative response to the question “Is ‘No-Fault’ the Cure for the Medical Liability Crisis?” in the AMA Journal of Ethics in 2007.

To Talk to an Experienced Massachusetts Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a family member has suffered a serious injury or death due to what you believe may have been medical negligence, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can help you determine whether you have a case against the doctor, nurse, or other medical provider whom you suspect of failing to uphold the applicable standard of care. Call us at (888) 262-6664 to schedule an appointment at our Hyannis or Plymouth office. We serve clients throughout Cape Cod and elsewhere in Massachusetts.

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