Case name: Shepherd v. Dr. D and Hospital
Case type: Medical negligence
Case number: 04-CV-3971
Court: Dane County
Judge: James Martin
Injuries alleged: Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy leading to cerebral palsy causing permanent cognitive and neurologic damage.
Original amount sought: In final argument, the plaintiff requested an award for future medical and health care expenses in the amount of $2.6 million. This amount was conceded by the defense. Plaintiff’s counsel sought an award for future loss of earning capacity in the amount of $3.4 million. The defense suggested an award of $1,538,000 for that category.
Plaintiff’s counsel declined to suggest an award for past and future pain, suffering or disability. The defense suggested a starting point for those awards of $100,000 for past pain, suffering and disability and $500,000 for future pain, suffering and disability.
Outcome: Defense verdict on liability.
Verdict date: Nov. 7, 2008
Plaintiff attorney: Euel W. Kinsey, McKeen & Associates, Detroit, MI
Defense attorney: Dr. D & PIC: Barrett J. Corneille/Colleen L. Meloy; Hospital & OHIC: Emile H. Banks/Vicki L. Arrowwood; Wisconsin Injured Patients & Families
Compensation Fund: David McFarlane
Plaintiff experts: Obstetrics/Perinatol-ogist: Dr. Russel Jelsema; Obste-trics/Perinatologist: Dr. Fredrick Gonzalez; Developmental Pediatrician/Child Neuro-logist: Dr. Robert Lerer; Pediatric Neurologist: Dr. William Zinser; Pediatric Neuroradiologist: Dr. Robert Naidich; RN: Ocean Berg, RN; Life Care Planner: Patricia Dodson Brown; Economist: Robert Niendorf
Defense experts: Obstetrics/Perinato-logist/Genetics: Dr. Katharine Wenstrom; Obstetrics/Perinatologist: Dr. Frank Manning; Neonatologist: Dr. Jay Goldsmith; Pediatric Radiologist: Dr. Richard Towbin; Pediatric Hematologist: Dr. Sinisa Dovat; Neuroradiologist: Dr. Gordon Sze; Placental Pathologist: Dr. Theonia Boyd; Pediatric Neurologist: Dr. Richard Colan; Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician: Dr. Susan Farrell; Neuro-psychologist: Dr. Mark Lewis; Economist: Dr. David Jones Defense counsel’s summary of case: This was a relatively complex medical negligence case which included 70 motions in limine and testimony from 19 experts. Issues included whether or not the defendant maternal fetal medicine specialist violated the standard of care and whether or not such violation was a cause of the plaintiff’s permanent brain injury. There was also an issue on whether the hospital met the standard of care in transferring the patient to labor and delivery. The plaintiff had cognitive and neurologic disabilities leaving him wheelchair bound for life. The defense conceded that the plaintiff had a normal life expectancy.
The plaintiff’s mother sought prenatal care and treatment from the defendant maternal fetal medicine specialist because she was categorized as “high risk.”
The plaintiff conceded that the mother was appropriately monitored up until the date of delivery. However, on that date, the patient’s condition drastically changed. The plaintiff contended that this change required a more expeditious delivery than what occurred. The defense responded that the timing of delivery met the standard of care, and that the defendant physician was entitled to assess the basis for the change in status and balance the risks of delivery of a premature infant versus the risk of further assessment of the situation.
The defense also contended that the permanent neurologic injuries resulted from a combination of rare genetic factors that resulted in an injury to the fetus days to weeks before the date of delivery.