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$2.5M settlement on claim newborn’s strep treatment was delayed

$2.5M settlement on claim newborn’s strep treatment was delayed

Approximately four hours after delivery, the minor plaintiff began to exhibit worrisome signs of infection including color changes, decreased tone and intermittent grunting.

Defendant pediatrician evaluated the minor plaintiff and ordered a partial sepsis work-up, but did not initiate antibiotic therapy. Eight hours later, blood cultures were positive for Group B Strep.

The minor plaintiff developed seizures and was ultimately diagnosed with early-onset Group B Strep Meningitis. The meningitis caused brain damage leading to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, cortical blindness and profound developmental delay.

Plaintiffs argued that a 10-hour delay in initiating antibiotic therapy in the minor plaintiff’s case was negligent and caused the minor plaintiff’s injuries. Defendants argued that the minor plaintiff’s symptoms were consistent with transient tachypnea of the newborn and that anticipatory antibiotics were not required. The defendants further argued that antibiotics would not have prevented the development of meningitis, nor altered the minor plaintiff’s outcome.

The minor plaintiff was born in the 1990s prior to standard routine screening in pregnancy for Group B Strep.


Mediated Settlement Report

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Injuries alleged: Brain damage/cerebral palsy

Case name: Confidential

Case number: Confidential

Court: Confidential

Name of judge, arbitrator or mediator: Charles V. Tompkins Jr.

Verdict or settlement: Mediated settlement

Date: Nov. 10, 2010

Amount: $2.5 million

Special damages: $8,827,300 (present value of economic loss)    

Insurer: Confidential    

Experts: Steven Shore, M.D., pediatrics/infectious disease (Atlanta); William Wittert, M.D., pediatrics (Chicago); David Lang, M.D., infectious disease (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Were liability and/or damages contested? Yes

Was the opposing party represented by legal counsel? Yes

Plaintiff’s attorney: John C. Hensley Jr. (Asheville)

Editor’s note: The information in Lawyers Weekly’s verdicts and settlements reports was submitted by the counsel for the prevailing party and represents the attorney’s characterization of the case.


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