Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 10, 2020

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An Illinois mother was recently awarded $5.5 million for a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit against a hospital and two of its doctors after she was given drugs to induce contractions that left her son brain damaged and unable to walk, talk or feed himself.

Every expecting mother’s nightmare

What happened to Eva Liberato’s son Angel is every expecting mother’s nightmare. According to news reports, Liberato was admitted to Westlake Hospital to deliver her baby in 2002. She was given drugs to induce labor, but her baby’s heart rate started to drop. However, instead of having an obstetrician attend to her, a family medical doctor attempted to deliver the baby using a variety of methods including forceps and a vacuum retractor.

Things went from bad to worse – quickly. The family medical doctor managed to lodge the forceps in Liberato’s uterine wall before another doctor stepped in to perform a Cesarean section to delivery the child. Unfortunately, the Cesarean section was too little, too late and the child was born severely brain damaged due to a lack of oxygen. Now – six years later – the child cannot walk, talk or feed himself and will require lifelong care. Liberato sued the hospital and the two doctors for medical malpractice.

$5.5 million award

An Illinois jury found that the family medical doctor who first attempted to deliver the baby contributed the greatest amount of negligence. However, the second doctor and the hospital will reportedly both have to contribute to the $5.5 million award. But, how did they come up with that figure?

Determining damage awards

When a child is born with a severe birth injurylike Angel, how do you calculate damage awards for the child’s projected lifetime expenses? According to attorneys whose practice focuses in this area of the law, several specialists are needed to determine the extent of the child’s injuries and project what the child’s expenses will be for the rest of their life – right down to the last band-aid. These include life care planners, physicians, neurologists, physical medicine experts and rehabilitation experts. Together, they attempt to determine everything that the child may need over his or her lifetime.

If your child was profoundly injured or died as the result of medical negligence, make sure that you contact an experienced birth injury attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law for help as you only get your day in court once.