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$20 million awarded to parents of child with brain damage

A mother cited better safeguards for future patients as one of the reasons behind her family's medical malpractice lawsuit. The birth of a child is normally a joyous occasion for New Jersey families, but the celebrations were cut short for this out-of-state family. They were recently awarded $20 million for their daughter's brain damage that she suffered shortly after being born.

In Jan. 2013, the mother gave birth to her daughter five weeks early. Apparently due to her premature status, the newborn was transferred to the newborn intensive care unit -- the NICU -- for care. During that period of time she was put on a feeding tube, although her mother continued to bring milk in for her.

After four days in the NICU, her mother found her lying lethargic and pale, noted that her diaper was soaked through and that a puddle had formed on the floor. The machine hooked up to her feeding tube had overfed the newborn. Due to what was either a calibration or placement error, the newborn received enormous amounts of glucose, causing the composition of her blood to shift dramatically, which cut off the oxygen to her brain. The girl survived, but with injuries. The incident caused her to develop cerebral palsy and, at three years old, she still cannot speak or walk without struggling.

Those who suffer from cerebral palsy typically require intensive and round-the-clock care for the entirety of their lives. For New Jersey parents, it can be devastating to learn that a child who was born otherwise healthy has suffered brain damage that has lifelong implications. Nothing could ever truly address the emotional trauma suffered by parents and children alike, but many families find that successful medical malpractice suits can provide necessary compensation for related medical care.

Source:, "Family awarded $20 million for hospital's error", Michael Chen, April 13, 2016

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Alan D. Bell
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