Sunday, January 27, 2008

$13 million lawsuit alleging doctor failed to warn of danger of homebirth

From a recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Trial begins in case of child brain damaged after at-home birth:
The only significant undisputed event is that Isabella Moscarello was severely brain damaged during her birth in 2003.

It will fall to a Summit County jury to decide whether the mother was responsible because of the beliefs she held and the choices she made in opting for a home birth, or a physician is to blame because she failed to inform the mother of the risks involved.

In opening statements Thursday morning, plaintiff's attorney James Casey said Dr. Kristin Trump is to blame because she never told the mother that she was at risk.

Marilena DiSilvio, the doctor's lawyer, said the physician should not be held accountable "for choices she didn't make, and for choices she counseled against..."

Plaintiffs told prospective jurors earlier this week that they are seeking more than $13 million in damages. The money is only for the child's care, and will protected and administered by a probate court, the parents said.

The parents are not the named plaintiffs. A court-appointed guardian brought the suit in the child's name...
What is this lawsuit really about? This lawsuit is the direct result of the fact that the DEM carried no malpractice insurance. The parents are desperately trying to find some one to pay for the expensive care that this child needs as a result of homebirth with a DEM. First the mother tried to sue the paramedics, but no lawyer would take the case. Then the legal guardian hit upon the strategy of suing the doctor who cared for the mother during her pregnancy.

I suspect that there is no one in this entire sorry situation who thinks the doctor is in any way to blame for what happened. However, the doctor has malpractice insurance, and the guardian probably assumed that the insurance company would pay some money to settle the case and avoid the additional expense of a trial. It must have suprised everyone involved that the insurance company refused to give in to what amounts to extortion and is paying the money to defend the doctor. The insurance company probably recognizes that paying any money in this case would open the floodgates to many similar lawsuits: Can't get money from the DEM who is responsible for the baby's brain damage? Just sue a doctor and be paid off to settle.

I have written before that the willingness of DEMs to work without malpractice insurance benefits the DEMs and harms the patients. DEMs have been offering inane and self serving explanations for depriving patients of the benefit of malpractice insurance. CFM Molly has recently posted a typical absurd explanation:
Reading the current issue of Midwifery Today finally helped me respond to that question and also to discern what I have always felt that questions of legislation and legalization of midwifery should not involve a need for, or a requirement of, malpractice insurance. It also helps explain why bringing up malpractice insurance need not be an avenue for closing discussion.

From author Judy Slome Cohain: "Mandatory malpractice insurance does not enable a person to sue for malpractice. Any midwife or citizen can be sued at present--insurance or no insurance. Mandatory malpractice insurance can only do one thing: increase the profitability of lawsuits."
Really? Who would have guessed that malpractice insurance allows patients to collect more money than failing to carry malpractice insurance? Evidently DEMs are the only people in America who seem to be unaware of the purpose of malpractice insurance. This is why it is immoral for DEMs to practice without malpractice insurance. Patients pay a terrible price for that decision. No matter how irresponsible and incompetent the DEM, she is financially protected against any responsibility for the human tragedy that she has caused. Instead, the parents feel compelled to sue others who are not responsible in order to pay for the care of their brain damaged child.

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