A jury in Baltimore recently awarded a mother and her daughter $229.6 million, ending a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The birth of a child is supposed to be an exciting moment. Unfortunately, complications occur occasionally that can steal that excitement in an instant. That’s what happened to Erica Bryom nearly five years ago. At the time, Byrom was 16-years-old when she was induced to deliver her child. However, during labor, her child was deprived of oxygen and suffered a “brain injury at birth that requires around-the-clock care.” A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed as a result and a Baltimore jury recently ruled in favor of Bryom, awarding her and her daughter $229.6 million.
The suit was originally filed against Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and the jury only deliberated for a little under three hours before ruling the hospital was at fault. However, given the state law caps on malpractice verdicts, it’s expected that the award amount will be decreased to a little more than $200 million.
How did the complication that left her daughter with a brain injury happen in the first place? Well, prior to being induced, Byrom was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia, a “pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.” She was admitted to the hospital when she was about 25 weeks pregnant and her doctors wanted to perform a C-section. However, Byrom declined. According to her lawyers, she “declined that delivery method — the safest under her conditions — because doctors erroneously told her the baby would die or suffer brain damage.”
From there, she was induced on October 23, 2014, and labored for 22 hours. However, during that time her baby’s brain failed to receive enough oxygen. Shortly after the baby, who was named Zubida, was born, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and now requires round the clock care. On top of that, “she also suffers from microcephaly, a condition in which the head is smaller than normal, along with seizures and significant pain,” according to the lawsuit.
The trial itself only lasted two weeks. During that time, lawyers for the hospital pushed back against the allegations and argued Byrom’s medical team was not negligent and was not responsible for the complications that occurred. They also argued that “doctors were prevented from performing a C-section and that the child’s injury occurred after Byrom tied (the hospital’s) proverbial hands regarding the delivery method.”
Byrom and her daughter now live in Fort Washington and are pleased with the jury’s decision. Their lawyer said, “they are pleased the jury sought to make sure that Zubida’s medical care was covered for the rest of her life.”
When responding to the verdict, Kim Hoppe, a spokeswoman for the hospital said:
“We are confident in the care this patient received and have provided ample documentation clearly demonstrating that we appropriately informed her multiple times of all of the risks associated with her condition. The verdict was not supported by the evidence.”