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Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Case Involving Birth Injury Settled For $19.5 Million

William and Carolyn Hughes brought a claim of medical negligence in Lackawanna County Court against Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Dr. Lori DelGaudio, and Dr. Teresa Baseski. Their son Billy was left with “catastrophic and permanent injuries” after alleged negligent care during Mrs. Hughes’ pregnancy. The case was recently settled for $19.5 million, which is believed to be among the largest in the county’s history. The claim states that the infant incurred significant brain damage due to oxygen deprivation and is now four years old and has continual difficulties standing and walking.

Request to Change Venue

The defendants asked the court to transfer the case to a Luzerne County court; however, the court did not find that a “heavy burden” existed to justify the change in venue. They explained that the Lackawanna County court setting was not “oppressive” to the defendant, but rather just inconvenient for the parties. By this time the case had already progressed through pre-trial and was approaching jury selection in a few weeks.

Case Details

Mrs. Hughes visited OB-GYN Associates several weeks prior to her due date complaining of symptoms including nausea, headache, and backache. The claim alleges that she was not examined by a physician at that time. The plaintiffs felt that Dr. Baseki should have ordered an ultrasound or other means of examination during the visit.

Hughes returned the next morning and was seen by Dr. DelGuadio who also did not conduct a proper examination of the condition of the baby. The delivery was ultimately done by Cesarean section and the medical staff noted that the baby was potentially having seizures and had “poor tone and color.” The baby was transferred to an intensive care unit and remained there for a 12 day period. During this time it is alleged that the defendants failed to monitor the status of the ventilator, which resulted in low levels of carbon dioxide within the blood.

Allegations of Negligence

The claim states that the defendants did not adhere to the current standards of care relating to diagnosis and treatment. As a result, Billy was said to have incurred severe neurological damage and physical injury. The plaintiffs suggest that Billy will be unable to function independently and will need skilled medical assistance for the remainder of his life.

OB/GYNs

Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) are physicians that focus on the reproductive health of women such as pregnancy and are likely to be defendants in claims of medical malpractice.

  • Roughly 50% of physicians will face a medical malpractice claim prior to the age of 55
  • Surgeons and OB/GYNs are approximately four times more likely to face a lawsuit compared to other medical specialties such as psychiatrists or pediatricians
  • About 64% of OB/GYNs report that they have been sued at least one time

Birth Injuries

Injuries that occur during the delivery of a baby often cause damage to the brain. Some of the types of conditions that may occur include Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and facial paralysis. Brain injuries are commonly attributed to insufficient oxygen levels that can impair the physical and cognitive abilities of the baby.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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