Mass. Jury Awards $26.5 Million In Birth of Disabled Child

October 15, 2007

A Suffolk Superior Court jury in Boston has awarded $26.5 million to a 10-year-old boy and his parents after the family argued in a lawsuit that he was severely injured during a delayed delivery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Two obstetricians — Doctors Alisa Goldberg and Julie Miner — were found negligent after a two-week trial. A nurse was cleared of negligence.

Jose Bejarano Jr., of Brockton, has cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair and must be fed through a tube. The boy’s parents claimed in their lawsuit that their son’s injuries were caused when the doctors delayed delivering him by Caesarean section.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly said it is the largest medical malpractice jury verdict so far this year in the state.

“It was a six- to eight-hour delay in performing a C-section in a baby that was showing signs of fetal distress on a fetal monitor,” said Florence Carey, one of the family’s attorneys.

The baby was eventually delivered by another set of doctors using forceps.

Edward Hinchey, an attorney for the doctors, said they were “stunned and disappointed” by the verdict. He said they will appeal.

“We continue to believe that both of these physicians are outstanding doctors,” Hinchey said. “The case had been reviewed by many obstetrical experts, who were all supportive of the care and believe that the care was excellent.”

“The mom had some risk factors for having in-utero problems and there was some evidence that there were some problems before she actually came to the hospital,” he said.

The hospital issued a statement saying the doctors gave the highest standard of medical care.

“Despite the talents and skills of our medical teams, events can arise during a pregnancy, and, tragically, not all outcomes are perfect,” the hospital said, adding that its staff was sympathetic to the pain suffered by the Bejarano family.

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