Conn. Jury Awards Record $38.5M in Malpractice Lawsuit

February 11, 2008

A Superior Court jury in Stamford, Conn. has ordered a city obstetrician to pay $38.5 million to the family of a boy born with cerebral palsy in 2003.

The verdict is believed to be among the largest medical malpractice awards in the state, surpassing a $36.5 million award in 2005 against Hartford Hospital and an obstetrician.

The Stamford jury ruled Friday that Dr. Corinne De Cholnoky should have performed a Caesarean section more quickly during the 2003 delivery of Spencer Oram, whose umbilical cord was impeding blood flow to his brain.

The boy now has cerebral palsy, although his twin sister was born 27 minutes earlier is healthy, said Richard Silver, an attorney for the Oram family. The case was filed almost three years ago.

The family is “incredibly emotionally drained,” Silver said.

An attorney for De Cholnoky, who has a private practice in Stamford, said they will appeal. Attorney James Rosenblum said he believes the jury was overcome with sympathy and ignored proof that De Cholnoky acted “reasonably, appropriately and thoughtfully.”

Rosenblum said he presented expert witnesses who testified that the baby may have been suffering severe health problems in the womb.
De Cholnoky has been practicing for 20 years and was sued only once before, but that case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired, Rosenblum said.

“She’s extremely talented and very popular,” he said.
Stamford Hospital and its medical staff have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

“We are, of course, pleased with the jury’s verdict,” said Scott Orstad, a hospital spokesman. “At the same time, we are always sorry when any of our patients have to face difficult health care situations.”

The Oram family, who lived in Norwalk in 2003, has since moved to New York.

The jury award includes $30 million to cover the past and future costs of Spencer’s care; about $7.5 million to compensate Spencer for his suffering; and $1 million to his parents.

Information from: The Advocate of Stamford

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