When giving birth, there are many things that can go wrong. Fortunately, with a vigilant medical provider with good experience, it’s possible to reduce or eliminate the risk of complications.

That didn’t happen in this case, and as a result, a jury as awarded a substantial sum to a child and her family. A child who developed a spinal cord injury during birth has been awarded $40.3 million in Pennsylvania. The little girl and her twin were born at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

The little girl had been in the footling-breech position when her mother went into labor. The family’s attorneys claim that the medical provider failed to protect the child’s head and neck, which resulted in her paralysis from the mid-chest down. She is unable to stand without support and goes to therapy several times weekly.

Although the award given is much higher than normal, it’s believed to be acceptable because of the little girl’s continued medical needs. She will likely need medical support for her entire life. Additionally, court documents showed that the family claimed the doctor was underqualified for the complicated delivery and was aggressive, something the jury must have believed to award such a high amount.

Pennsylvania does not cap medical malpractice damages, which is good news for people with long-term and serious illnesses. Other states have caps that limit how much juries can award for noneconomic damages, but since this state does not, it’s possible to seek high amounts to cover your needs, pain and suffering. Awards may top several million, like this one, if the injury is severe enough.

Source: Philly.com, “$40M to Delco girl with spinal injury in medical malpractice case,” Dan Spinelli, Jan. 25, 2018