November 23, 2003 - Medical malpractice cases involving childbirth awarded damages in more than 40% of trials

According to a recent survey, plaintiffs receive awards in 42 percent of medical malpractice cases involving childbirth, while the recovery probability for medical malpractice cases involving diagnosis is 36 percent. The following table displays these recovery probabilities along with those of several subcategories.

For purposes of this study, the Childbirth category and its subcategories contain cases in which medical negligence allegedly occurred during the process of labor and delivery of a child or in the prenatal care of the mother. This analysis includes cases of injuries to the mothers as well as injuries to the infants. The Delay in Delivery subcategory contains cases in which plaintiffs claimed that the mother or child suffered injury as a result of an unreasonable or unnecessary delay in delivering the child. Improper Prenatal Care/Monitoring includes cases in which the mother or infant's condition was not adequately monitored or maintained by medical professionals during pregnancy. The Diagnosis category and its subcategory involve instances in which medical negligence allegedly occurred in the determination of the type of disease or ailment from which a plaintiff was suffering. Plaintiffs in these cases contended that as a result of the failure to make a correct diagnosis, they endured unnecessary pain and suffering, suffered a delay in obtaining the proper treatment, or underwent improper treatment. In some instances, the failure or delay in making a correct diagnosis led to the plaintiff's death. The Cancer Diagnosis subcategory contains cases in which cancer was not diagnosed in a timely matter.

Award Data - Childbirth

Award Median2 ,252,645

Award Probability Range 677,000 - 8,188,750

Award Range 8,500 - 116,000,000

Awards of 1,000,000 +71%

Award Data - Diagnosis

Award Median 975,000

Award Probability Range 360,000 - 2,490,000

Award Range100 - 78,500,00

Awards of 1,000,000 +50%

In addition, the study found the most frequently cited injury categories and the percentage of the total awards that fell within each range for medical malpractice cases involving childbirth and diagnosis and in which plaintiff verdicts were rendered.

Award Data - Childbirth

Injury% of Awards

Brain Damage 38%

Spinal Nerve Injuries 16%

Death 12%

Genital Injuries 11%

Emotional Distress 4%

Award Data - Diagnosis

Injury Median

Death 33%

Cancer-Related 12%

Brain Damage 7%

Eye Injuries 6%

Genital Injuries 5%

Leg Injuries 4%

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