In what is considered to be the largest award of damages in a medical malpractice case in Minnesota, and one of the largest in the United States, a jury has awarded $23.2 million on February 11, 2010to themother of a baby who suffered serious permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy during her birth.
Thelawsuit alleged that the defendant, Dr. Gabrielle Olson (who was a family medicine physician and not anobstetrician),along with several nurses, failed to recognize obvious signs of fetal distress, failed toensure that the baby received enough oxygen during the delivery and failed to perform an emergency C-section. Dr.Olson, along with Affilitated Community Medical Centers (ACMC) and Rice Memorial Hospital were sued. Dr. Olson was later dismissed from the case, as she was considered to have been an agent of ACMC. The jury found that ACMC was 80% negligent and Rice Memorial 20% negligent.
The baby, born in 2007,now suffers seizures, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and other neurologic impairment, and will require lifetime medical care as a result of the negligence of the defendants. The verdict encompasses $1.7 million for past medical expenses, $10 million for future care, $10 million for emotional distress, and $1.5 million for lost earning capacity. Both defendants are expected to appeal the verdict.