$4.25 Million Settlement Reached After Twin Babies Die
In 2009, a woman from Archbald, Pennsylvania was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her twin girls. But at 33.4 weeks gestation, the girls were stillborn. The mother had suffered a seizure, which led to the detachment of the placenta from her womb and consequently, the death of the twin fetuses on March 2, 2009.
In 2011, the bereaved mother filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, two physicians, and Physicians Health Alliance of Carbondale. The case never went to trial. Instead, the parties recently agreed to a $4.25 million malpractice settlement.
Unusual nature of this case
A settlement agreement is not an admission of liability by the defendants. Rather, it is an agreement between plaintiffs and defendants to drop further legal action in exchange for compensatory damages. What’s unusual about this case is that the details of settlement agreements are usually kept confidential. The public often isn’t privy to the amount of a settlement or other details. However, Lackawanna County Judge Terrence Nealon ruled against the request of the defense to keep the details sealed.
In the ruling, the Judge acknowledged the concerns of the defense that revealing the details of the settlement might discourage other defendants in future medical malpractice cases from settling cases. However the Judge ultimately decided that the right of the public to know the details outweighed these concerns, that this case was a matter of public importance, and that the public had already been privy to many of the details of the case that had been published in newspapers.
The bereaved mother’s legal journey
In filing her lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to properly treat her preeclampsia between December 9, 2008 and February 27, 2009. She alleged that this failure to provide adequate medical care caused her to suffer an eclamptic seizure on March 2. Consequently, the seizure led to her diagnosis of hypovolemic shock, tachycardia, and massive hemorrhaging. This dire medical situation forced the expectant mother to undergo an emergency hysterectomy, including the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes.
During the process of preparing the case for a trial that would ultimately never be held, the plaintiff produced an expert report from a doctor who proposed that the twins suffered “implicitly severe and significant” pain prior to their death by asphyxiation during the seizure.
The plaintiff had been seeking pain and suffering damages for her twins as well as herself. The defense had sought to suppress the expert testimony, but the Judge denied this request and would have allowed the case to proceed in this direction. It is unknown if this ruling prompted the defense to consider a settlement deal.
The Sanders Firm malpractice attorneys
The legal team at The Sanders Firm would like to extend our sincere condolences to families who have lost loved ones due to doctor negligence. We offer a compassionate, client-centered approach to medical malpractice and birth injury litigation. We’ll review your case at no cost or obligation to you and then clearly explain your legal rights and options.
Should you choose to pursue litigation, we’ll do everything in our power to secure just compensation for your family. Call 800.FAIR.PLAY today. Resources
- Penn Live, Huge $4.25 million medical malpractice settlement as Pa. mom loses twins, http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/08/huge_425_million_medical_malpr.html
- The Times Tribune, Judge refuses to seal $4.25 million settlement in baby death case, http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/judge-refuses-to-seal-4-25-million-settlement-in-baby-death-case-1.2081805?utm_campaign=scrantontt&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterfeed