A judge in Pennsylvania approved a $19.3 million settlement for a couple, Charles and Marissa Vaccaro, who claimed that a delayed cesarean section in 2012 caused their newborn severe brain damage. This is one of the largest medical malpractice settlements on record for this county, surpassed by only two others in history.
When Marissa was admitted to the Scranton Quincy Hospital (operated as Moses Taylor Hospital) during labor, she was suffering from a placental abruption, a condition in which the placenta detaches from the mother's uterus, thereby depriving the fetus of oxygen. This condition necessitates a cesarean section.
According to the lawsuit, although Marissa was showing obvious symptoms, her obstetrician, Dr. Raymond C. DeCesare, did not immediately perform the necessary C-section. Rather, he ordered an ultrasound which delayed the procedure and delivery of Emma Vaccaro for 84 minutes. This delay allegedly caused Emma to be born “profoundly hypoxic” and “without a detectable heart rate for 12 minutes, leaving her with brain injury, visual impairment, seizure disorder and renal failure.”
Emma's mother told the court that Emma is unable to walk, talk, or feed herself. In addition, Marissa claimed that the blood loss and internal injuries sustained during delivery caused Emma to suffer from depression.
The Vaccaros named multiple defendants in the case. They brought claims of negligence against Dr. DeCesare and claims of vicarious liability, corporate negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress against Moses Taylor Hospital.
The defendants in the case argued that the fetus already showed signs of brain injury when Marissa came to the hospital, that the ultrasound was necessary in her case, and that the C-section was performed immediately after the condition was confirmed.
Earlier, Judge Terrence R. Nealon had ruled that Dr. DeCesare's records could not be concealed from the court and were not protected by the Peer Review Protection Act. These records, which Moses Taylor originally withheld, contained professional evaluation reports, medical malpractice history, and administrative letters from other physicians who advised DeCesare to update delinquent records.
The agreement allocates various funds to different parties involved in the settlement. $9.05 million will go to a special fund dedicated to the present and future care of Emma Vaccaro, while $2 million will go directly to Marissa to compensate her for her child's injuries. $7.6 million is allocated to attorney and court fees for the case, $173,063 will go to the Department of Human Services to support the services they provide to Emma, and $75,000 will be placed in an account reserved for future litigation expenses.
Medical errors cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, and countless injuries. If you or a loved one has experienced the pain and trauma of malpractice, you deserve a lawyer who understands how to work within the complex system of medical litigation. Attorneys Gilman & Bedigian have extensive experience in this area and a proven track record recovering for their clients. Call them today at (800) 529-6162 or contact them online for a free case evaluation. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.