Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Ends with $43 Million Verdict against Hospital

Last week a Saratoga County jury in New York delivered a $43 million verdict against a former hospital, Bellevue Hospital. It is believe to be the largest award in the region’s history, according to the Albany Business Review.

Attorneys for 25-year-old Tiffany Busone argued that the plaintiff suffered a brain injury that resulted in cerebral palsy during her birth because hospital staff failed to follow proper protocol when resuscitating and intubating her.

Busone has permanent brain damage that was occurred because her brain was deprived of oxygen shortly after birth. As a result, she suffers from cerebral palsy. She is confined to a wheelchair and will require full-time home health aides for her whole life. Although she recently received a degree from Arizona State University, she has limited communication capabilities and will probably never be able to maintain employment to cover her expenses.

Cerebral palsy can be caused by brain injury before, during, or shortly after birth that deprives the brain of oxygen. It causes permanent damage that leaves the victim with developmental problems, loss of motor function, and other lifelong disabilities. Cerebral palsy also commonly causes seizures, cognitive limitations, and sensory impairments. Cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuits are commonly filed after a medical mistake during prenatal care results in oxygen deprivation and ensuing brain injury.

Busone’s attorney Stephen Coffey said, “I’m absolutely certain it’s the largest [personal injury verdict] in this area. But who cares where you are? It’s an enormous verdict.”

The $43 million verdict due to Busone breaks down into $20 to pay for home health aides, $15 million for future suffering, $6 million for past suffering, and $2 million for medical expenses of loss of earnings.

This cases is somewhat odd because Bellevue Hospital no longer exists. It was formerly a for-profit hospital, but the owners sold in to a non-profit corporation in 2001. In 2007, the state forced Bellevue to merge with Ellis Hospital.

“That does not extinguish the debt that Bellevue owes,” said Coffey.

Donna Evans, spokesperson for Ellis Hospital, disagrees: “We were not a party to this case. We had no affiliation with that organization at that time. That was a separate corporation going back many years ago. We had no involvement.”

When Bellevue merged with Ellis, it was required to purchase $4.3 million in medical malpractice “tail” insurance to cover any claims that might arise from past services.

Brain injuries often result in lifelong disabilities. When a brain injury occurs because of negligence, the negligent party can be held accountable for damages in court. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury because of negligence - whether it’s medical negligence or negligence outside of the medical setting - contact an experienced Georgia brain injury attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation. If you have questions about your legal rights, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule your free consultation.