A Baltimore jury yesterday found a doctor responsible for the brain injury and death in 2003 in a shoulder dystocia case and awarded the child’s parents $8.1 million. The damages are limited to just over $2.1 million under Maryland law putting a cap on awards for pain and suffering.
During the delivery of the child at Mercy Hospital, the child’s shoulders became stuck in the birth canal. This condition, known as shoulder dystocia, occurs when the child’s head can clear but the shoulders require additional medical maneuvers for the child to be delivered. In shoulder dystocia cases, one shoulder of the baby usually is trapped behind the mother’s pelvis, obstructing the baby’s breathing.
It is hard to conjure up a more horrific case. This Baltimore jury that heard all the evidence in this medical malpractice case determined the damages at $8.1 million. Why do we have a law in Maryland that only awards these Plaintiffs about one-fourth of what the jury believed was appropriate?