About 17 years ago at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Staten Island New York, the Debes family was blessed with the birth of twin baby girls, whom they named Amanda and Stephanie. While this was a hallmark moment in their lives, it was not without its tragedy. The girls’ birth was premature. While Amanda came out healthy, Stephanie was only 1 pound 12 ounces and faced a future of cerebral palsy.
The family’s lawsuit against the hospital claimed that the hospital staff did not recognize that the mother was having premature contractions or provided her with the appropriate care when she arrived at the hospital. Essentially, the staff ignored her concerns, gave her a Benadryl, and sent her home. As a result of this negligence, the family claimed that the twin girls were born prematurely, and Stephanie suffers from cerebral palsy as a result.
The attorney representing the hospital argued that the medical professionals of ST. Vincent’s Medical Center did all that was reasonably possible in the situation. All the same, it could not be disputed that the staff only gave the mother an allergy pill and forced her to go home. As a result, the jury awarded $100 million in damages to Stephanie and her family.
Unfortunately, St. Vincent’s Medical Center went bankrupt in 2010, and was unable to pay the whole award. In these situations, the payouts are limited to what the hospital’s insurance will cover. In this case, it is around $16 million dollars, a small fraction of the actual award.
All the same, $16 million will provide a massive positive impact to Stephanie and her family’s future. Not only will it pay for medical bills and home features that she needs for daily life, but it will also help her have a little more freedom and it will help her achieve dreams that would otherwise be impossible. Malpractice and negligence lawsuit awards do not merely bring justice to the victims, it enables them to achieve what they want in their lives.