A girl has been awarded $32.8 million compensation for birth injuries due to nursing negligence following a hearing at the Chester County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.
On 14 November 2009, Leslie Ciechoski was admitted to the Phoenixville Hospital, having gone into labor after a relatively smooth pregnancy. However, at around 1.00am the following morning, her baby´s fetal heart rate dropped from a normal level of 150 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute – with the probable cause being a kink in the umbilical cord which prevented oxygen being transported to the fetus´ brain.
Two of the nurses on duty – Christine Winter and Lana Jones-Sandy noticed the decline in heart rate, but failed to advise Leslie´s OB-GYN – Dr. Amy Cadieux – and the dangerous situation was only acted upon when Dr. Cadieux visited her patient at 1:20am.
Dr Cadieux instructed the two nurses to summon an anesthesiologist and contact their supervisor in order that an emergency Cesarean Section operation could be performed; but it was not until 1:29am that the hospital supervisor was contacted and not until 1:36am that the anesthesiologist could be located.
Lily Ciechoski was delivered at 1:49am, and diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy as the result of oxygen starvation. Now four years of age, Lily has difficulty controlling her neck and speaks very little. She suffers from spasms in her arms and legs which make it difficult for her to walk.
On Lily´s behalf, her mother claimed compensation for birth injuries due to nursing negligence after a medical expert determined that, had Lily been delivered 15 to 17 minutes earlier, she would have only suffered minimal birth injuries.
The expert testified at the Chester County Court hearing, after which hearing Judge Robert Shenkin dismissed the Phoenixville Hospital and Dr Cadieux from the proceedings and the jury was sent to deliberate how much compensation for birth injuries due to nursing negligence Lily should receive.
After nine hours, the jury returned with a settlement figure of $32.8 million – which consisted of $800,000 for Lily´s lost earning potential in the future, $1 million for past and future non-economic “loss of amenity” and $31 million for future medical and care expenses.