Connecticut News

$36.5M Malpractice Award Largest in CT State History

A Connecticut jury has awarded the largest medical malpractice settlement in state history. Some $36.5 million will be paid to the family of a 6-year-old boy who suffered brain damage, blindness, and cerebral palsy because of injuries sustained during childbirth. The boy, Nicholas Cowles, was born on February 10, 1999 at the Hartford Hospital to a surrogate mother.

The fault was found to be 60 percent the hospital's and 40 percent the fault of the attending doctor, Peter J. Doelger. Dr. Doelger is an obstetrician and gynecologist with offices in Avon, Bloomfield and Hartford.

The state's previous record for a medical malpractice suit was reached in 1999 for $27 million against Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

The jury stated that they tried to see if the hospital and the doctor was not at fault in this particular case, but the evidence was too strong to support the plaintiffs. Nicholas was present during the trial. The boy is confined to a wheelchair and cannot hold his head up by himself.

The case hinged on the fact that the delivering doctor failed to recognize obvious signs of fetal distress in the mother. The delivery had taken a long time, exposing the fetus to a high level of blood acidity. If the child had been delivered via C-section the incident probably would not have happened. Nurses at the hospital were also at fault for not notifying the doctor of the obvious signs of fetal distress as shown on the monitor.

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