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Largest Malpractice Verdict in U.S. History Awarded in Baltimore

$229 million to Child Who Suffered Brain Injury During Birth at Johns Hopkins

BALTIMORE, Sept. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Honorable Audrey S. Carrion handed down rulings in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on post-trial motions filed by Defendant Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center following a landmark verdict rendered against them in July of 2019. The jury awarded $229 million after finding that Johns Hopkins acted negligently, causing the child to develop a severe brain injury at birth.

The trial judge, The Honorable Audrey S. Carrion, reduced the $25 million the jury awarded for pain and suffering to $740,000, consistent with Maryland's cap on non-economic damages, but left the remainder of the $205.38 million verdict intact. Having found that the plaintiffs proved their case, and that the hospital received a fair trial, the judge also denied the hospital's motion for new trial and motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

During the trial, attorneys from the law firm of Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, LLC argued that plaintiff Erica Byrom had been given inaccurate information about the status of her then unborn baby. This included being incorrectly told by Johns Hopkins doctors that her baby was likely to die or suffer brain damage and that she could terminate her pregnancy even though her baby was past the age of viability—leading Ms. Byrom to decline a c-section. The results were devastating—her daughter, Zubida Byrom suffered a brain injury in the hours leading to her birth. Zubida now suffers from spastic cerebral palsy and is currently living in foster care where she requires 16 hours a day of skilled nursing care.

The award, the largest ever in the United States, comes at a time when there is widespread acknowledgment that there is an ongoing maternal health crisis. According to recent CDC data, as many as 700 women die during childbirth every year— many of which are preventable – and at the highest rate of any developed country. Moreover, black women are three or four times more likely to die because of a pregnancy-related issue than non-Hispanic white women. In August, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation establishing a Maternal Mortality Review Board to address the number of preventable deaths arising out of poor maternal healthcare in New York. Similar legislation is being proposed in other states.

About Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, LLC
Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, LLC is a Baltimore-based Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury law firm serving victim and families throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and the nation. Over the years, the firm has capitalized on more than a century of collective experience to recover over $500 million in verdicts and settlements, as well as record results and the largest medical malpractice verdict in Maryland history. More information about the firm and services can be found at www.malpracticeteam.com.

 

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