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Jury Awards Plaintiff $47 Million After Malpractice Incident Caused Disfiguring Injuries

A premature birth can force doctors to deviate from the typical childbirth plan. However, all medical personnel in birthing centers must still provide a high level of care and follow the correct procedures to protect the child’s health and well-being.

In a recent case in Johnstown, a jury determined that a doctor failed to live up to the standard of care expected in such a situation, awarding the family of a 5-year-old girl $47 million. The lawsuit stemmed from an incident of medical malpractice that led to injuries that left the girl disfigured. It was one of the largest amounts ever awarded in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit.

Physician ordered “unusual care”

In the lawsuit, the parents described the “unusual care” that Dr. John O. Chan of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center ordered. Chan ordered the newborn’s head to be wrapped in ACE bandages to reduce swelling. However, the tight wrapping left the child with a deformed head and an inability to grow hair on parts of her scalp. Her condition will require surgery to improve.

The judge in the case said the parents had “overwhelming and unequivocal evidence” indicating that the head wrap was the cause of the injuries and that Chan “testified that his conduct did not meet the standard of care.”

Included in the award is $3.3 million for the girl’s medical expenses through 2095, along with nearly $44 million in noneconomic damages.

Doctors must meet acceptable standards of care

There’s an understanding in medical malpractice law that not every procedure will result in a positive medical outcome for a patient. The law does not expect that doctors and nurses will heal every patient. However, medical professionals must provide a quality of care consistent with what could be expected from a “reasonably competent” care provider. Failure to do so could make the doctor or care provider liable in a medical malpractice claim.

For more information about the steps you should take if you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, consult a personal injury lawyer at Rudberg Law Offices, LLC at 412-488-6000 or contact us online.