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Jury Awards Parents $21 Million in Harbor Hospital Birth Lawsuit

Boy Born Premature, later Developed Cerebral Palsy.

The lawsuit claimed the hospital was negligent in its care of the baby, who was born premature in 2002. The lawsuit said the boy, who is now 9, was deprived of oxygen during the delivery and has since developed cerebral palsy.

“Several of our experts said that by 2:30 and every hour after until 5 p.m., (the mom) should have had a C-section,” said attorney Julia Arfaa, of Wais, Vogelstein, Bedigian and Arfaa. “Had she had one, the baby would not have been born brain damaged.”

The $21 million the family got is the second huge monetary payment awarded to parents claiming neglect at a local hospital in the past two months. In June, a jury awarded another Baltimore-area family $55 million after it claimed similar neglect by workers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2010.

“That shows us a system where you know the city is saying, ‘We expect certain things from our doctors and our hospitals,'” Arfaa said.

Harbor Hospital is one of several in Maryland owned by MedStar.

In a statement, MedStar officials expressed their disappointment with the jury’s decision, saying, “Given the clear clinical facts and the excellent care provided by our physicians and nurses, we cannot understand how they could reach a verdict like this. The care provided was the most appropriate and of the highest clinical quality.”

The trial included 2 1/2 week of testimony and 12 expert witnesses.

“I think the jury clearly understood that if you’re going to give substandard care, there are consequences, and this is not just about doctors. This is not just about hospitals. There’s another side,” Arfaa said. “What about this child? For the rest of his life, he’s not going to be able to take care of himself.”

MedStar officials said they are considering all of their options, including an appeal.

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Jury awards $21 Million for birth injury