Johns Hopkins Hospital officials said they were stunned by the $55 million jury award against them in a civil lawsuit filed by a Baltimore couple after their child was born in the hospital with cerebral palsy.
Enzo Martinez was born in March 2010. His mother, Rebecca Fielding, was at home with a midwife and in the second stage of labor when the baby got stuck. She was rushed to Johns Hopkins, but then doctors kept her waiting for 2 hours before doing the C-section.
The hospital still claims they did nothing wrong and followed standard procedure. Rebecca Fielding was told they were waiting for blood test results before doing a C-section. Enzo was ultimately born with cerebral palsy and cannot sit, stand or speak. He is now two years old, and permanently disabled both physically and mentally. His only physical response is a smile.
Fielding and her husband, Enso Martinez, filed a lawsuit against the hospital in March 2011, alleging medical malpractice. Their lawyers hired an expert who concluded that the delayed C-section starved the baby of oxygen and caused the cerebral palsy. They claim the hospital should have performed the C-section within 30-40 minutes at most.
The jury trial lasted for three weeks, and ended with a $55 million award for the plaintiffs. This includes $25 million for medical expenses and long-term care, $26 million for pain and suffering, and $4 million in lost future wages.
This is the largest medical malpractice award in the history of Maryland.
Johns Hopkins is planning to appeal the decision, but if it stands, little Enzo might eventually get a total of about $29.6 million or so. The family says they plan to put the award money in to a trust for the child's care and try experimental treatments.