If you drive southeast of Rome for about three and a half hours, you will arrive in Augusta. While Georgia’s second-largest city is perhaps most famous as the host of the prestigious annual Masters golf tournament, it made headlines recently when a medical malpractice lawsuit there was settled for $3.55 million.
The legal action was filed by the mother of a child identified in court documents as “C.W.” against a doctor, a chain of hospitals and the Augusta Physicians Group. According to a news report, the mom also filed a suit against the United States and that a settlement in that separate matter is to be finalized.
According to her lawsuit, the woman went into labor on the final day of January four years ago. Her baby was delivered the following day at a hospital the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center had a contract with for baby deliveries.
The woman claimed in her lawsuit that the hospital staff failed to detect that the baby was in fetal distress and that the failure resulted in the child being born with severe brain damage.
According to a news report, the doctor is a neonatologist. It should be noted that neonatology is a pediatrics hospital-based subspecialty that involves medical care of newborns – especially those infants who ill or premature. Neonatology is typically practiced in NICUs (neonatal intensive care units).
Augusta’s Trinity Hospital, where the baby was born, has a NICU the facility describes on its website with the following: “Our neonatologists are board-certified in both Pediatrics and Neonatology (a specialty that focuses on the care of high-risk newborns), and are available 24 hours a day.”
According to terms of the settlement, there is no admission of liability by Trinity, the pediatrician, the physicians group or the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
Ninety percent of the settlement will be deposited in a trust fund for C.W.’s care, the news report stated.
There is, of course, no winner in these matters. A child has suffered irreparable harm and will require care for life. The biggest takeaway from the lawsuit is that the family now has the resources to provide that vital professional care.