Franke, Schultz & Mullen, PC | Jackson County MO Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Favor of Treating Physicians on Alleged $20 Million Medical Malpractice Cerebral Palsy Suit
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Jackson County MO Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Favor of Treating Physicians on Alleged $20 Million Medical Malpractice Cerebral Palsy Suit

After an eight day trial, a Jackson County, Missouri jury returned a defense verdict in favor of two treating doctors, Defendants Roger Smith, M.D. and Sara Wood, D.O.  Plaintiff, a minor child, and her mother claimed that the child’s injuries occurred the day of her delivery, July 17, 2008, at Truman Medical Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, resulting in brain injury and cerebral palsy.  Plaintiff alleged that the pregnancy was complicated by dysfunction of the placenta due to chronic enzymatic disorder placing plaintiff at high risk of placental dysfunction late in labor.  

On the date of delivery, plaintiff and her mother were admitted to triage due to a failed non-stress test earlier that day in clinic.  Dr. Smith served as attending physician for the labor and delivery unit on July 17, 2008. Dr. Wood acted as Chief Resident for the Triage during the day shift.  Plaintiff alleged that a subsequent non-stress test via fetal heart monitor at triage was misread by Dr. Wood, which defendants denied.  Plaintiff and her mother were then taken off the fetal heart monitor per Dr. Wood’s order, but kept at triage for further blood pressure monitoring.    Plaintiff and her mother were eventually placed back on the fetal heart monitor later that day, at which time fetal distress was detected and an emergency C-section was immediately completed. 
Plaintiff suffered a large placental abruption resulting in hypoxia and cerebral palsy; plaintiff argued that the fetal heart monitor should not have been removed and would have led to an early detection of fetal distress due to a prolonged placental abruption.   Defendants denied these allegations, asserting that there were no signs of fetal distress at the time that Dr. Wood ordered the fetal heart monitor be removed in triage, and that the placental abruption was an due to acute event occurring just before emergency C-section delivery.

Plaintiff’s experts included obstetrics specialist Michael Benson, M.D., neuro-radiologist Thomas Naidich, M.D., neonatologist Donald Nelms, M.D., life care planner Joseph Gonzalez, M.D., and economist Kurt Krueger, PhD.   Defendants’ experts included maternal-fetal specialist Carl Weiner, M.D., neuro-radiologist Gordon Sze, M.D., obstetrics specialist Rebecca McAlister, M.D., and placental pathologist Carolyn Salafia, M.D.

Plaintiff asserted $255,875 in past medical expenses, $1,190,288 in lost earning capacity, and $11,198,200 in future life care medical costs at trial.   During closing arguments, plaintiff’s counsel sought over $20 Million in total damages.   Our firm, through attorneys Jacqueline A. Cook and Christopher A. Brackman, represented both Dr. Smith and Dr. Wood.