Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Settlement

Although monetary compensation can never erase a birth injury, it can alleviate many of the day-to-day problems confronted by birth injury victims and their families. 

Stephanie Debes, a 17 year old Staten Island girl, and her family have won a $100 million lawsuit against St. Vincent’s Medical Center. The jury found the hospital to be negligent in the care it provided to the Debes family after the birth of Stephanie and her twin sister, Amanda, in 1995.

The girls were born three months premature.  When the girls’ mother, Catherine, started having contractions and went to the hospital, the family’s lawyer, Richard Sgarlato, explained to the jury that the negligence occurred when the hospital staff sent her home, instead of attending to her needs and preventing the preterm labor when it was still possible. The family says that instead of responding to Catherine’s concerns and treating her, she was given Benedryl and sent home. The babies were born later that night. Amanda was fine, but Stephanie weighed only 1 pound, 12 ounces at the time of her birth, and as the result of her premature birth, she suffered a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation that resulted in cerebral palsy.

Stephane is now 17, wheelchair-bound, and extremely limited.  She hopes that the reward will give her more freedom.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, the jury held the hospital liable for $17 million for past pain and suffering, and $60 million for future pain and suffering. Pursuing verdicts that hold hospitals and medical professionals accountable for negligent care that results in serious injury is important. It is necessary that a high standard of medical care be adhered to, which is meant to protect both the hospital and its patients. When failing to meet this standard results in injury to the patient, the providers need to be held responsible. And patients and their families deserve to be compensated for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.

St. Vincent’s lawyer, Lou Jakub, made the argument that no negligence took place and that the doctors and the staff who treated Catherine Debes handled the challenging situation appropriately. The hospital contends that Stephanie’s injuries were due to her weight and prematurity, but not inadequate care on the part of the hospital itself.

The jury found the Debes’ case to be more persuasive and in addition to the $77 million for pain and suffering, awarded the Debes damages to cover medical expenses and lost wages, bringing the award amount to over $100 million.

Birth injuries are traumatic to both children and parents.  Catherine Debes and her husband feel vindicated after 17 years of feeling like they did something wrong.  And Stephanie’s entire life will be affected by the circumstances surrounding her birth, she will need continual treatment, and suffers significantly because of her injuries.  Contacting a medical malpractice lawyer after a birth injury incident is extremely important in holding the hospital and practitioners responsible for mistakes or negligence when they fail to meet the standard for care.  Birth injury lawyers are familiar and have experience with all of the factors that contribute to successfully proving that malpractice did, in fact, occur, and demonstrating all of this in an effective way to the jury.

St. Louis Birth Injury Attorneys

Get immediate help! If you have a child with a birth injury, contact the Missouri and Illinois birth injury lawyers at the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm today to schedule a free and private consultation by calling (314) 588-7200.

Although monetary compensation can never erase a birth injury, it can alleviate many of the day-to-day problems confronted by birth injury victims and their families.


photo credit: phalinn

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact Zevan Murphy today.

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