Pennsylvania Family Wins $32.8 Million in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

Jacky Gale | January 30th, 2014

Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

Late in January 2014, a West Chester Common Pleas Court jury awarded $32.8 million in compensatory damages to a family who filed a cerebral palsy lawsuit, which claimed that their daughter was born with a severe injuries as a result of medical negligence.

The parties determined to be held liable are two nurses involved with the delivery of the girl. The jury determined that the hospital itself and a third nurse present for the delivery were not liable. Earlier in the two-week trial, Judge Robert Shenkin ruled that the mother’s doctor was no longer a defendant. The two nurses found liable no longer work at Phoenixville Hospital.

Nurses failed to notify OB/GYN

According to the plaintiffs’ cerebral palsy complaint, the mother was admitted to the hospital on November 13, 2009 after going into labor. Up to that point, her doctor had not determined that she had a high risk pregnancy, nor was there any apparent cause for concern. Early the following morning, the fetal heart rate monitor demonstrated an abrupt drop in the baby’s heartbeat. It dropped from a normal 150 beats per minute to an alarming 60 beats per minute. This can occur due to a problem with the umbilical cord, which can obstruct oxygen flow to the baby’s brain. Insufficient levels of oxygen can lead to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) – a contributing factor of birth injuries like cerebral palsy.

According to the complaint, the two nurses noticed the drop in heartbeat, yet failed to notify the doctor. The doctor came into the room about 13 minutes later, noticed the drop in heart rate, and immediately told the nurses to get an anesthesiologist and notify their supervisor. However, the supervisor wasn’t notified for about nine minutes and there was a delay in locating the anesthesiologist. During the trial, expert witness testimony was presented that claimed if the minor child had been delivered even 15 minutes earlier she may have not been born with brain damage. “I compare it to an airplane going into a nose dive for 13 minutes and no one telling the pilot,” said a spokesman for the family.

Baby born with severe brain damage

According to the lawsuit, the child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis was the direct result of the delay in delivery. The minor child was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a type of CP characterized by stiff muscles. Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy is the most severe type of spastic cerebral palsy. It means that the child has suffered significant or widespread brain damage, which often causes frequent, difficult-to-control seizures and significant mobility impairment. Moderate to severe intellectual impairment is also associated with this type. The minor child is only able to speak about six words and she can only walk a few steps at a time.

How a birth injury lawyer can help

Birth injuries often have dire consequences for the minor child and the entire family. Families can expect to be burdened with astronomical medical expenses, pharmaceutical fees, therapy costs, and much more when a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. By consulting a New York birth injury malpractice lawyer, families can learn about the legal options available to them, such as filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible.

At The Sanders Firm, our team of legal investigators will determine if medical negligence could be a factor in your child’s birth injuries, and if so, we’ll file a claim on your behalf to pursue compensation. Since we never collect a fee unless we win your case, there is never any risk to you. Call us toll-free at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY to learn more about your eligibility for filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit in New York.


  1. Daily Times, Jury gives $32.M to girl in Chesco medical malpractice case, http://www.delcotimes.com/general-news/20140122/jury-gives-32m-to-girl-in-chesco-medical-malpractice-case

  2. MyChild, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) or Intrapartum Asphyxia, http://cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/cause/hypoxic-ischemic-encephalopathy-or-intrapartum-asphyxia/

  3. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Cerebral Palsy: Hope Through Research, http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/detail_cerebral_palsy.htm