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Family Awarded $55 Million in Malpractice Case Against Hospital, Surgeon

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A Pennsylvania family was awarded $55 million by a jury in one of the largest verdicts in Lehigh County history. The jury ordered St. Luke’s University Hospital and one of its doctors to pay the family the this sum for their medical malpractice case.

The verdict was delivered after a two-week civil trial before Judge J. Brian Johnson. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mark Crowell; his wife, Sharon Petrosky Crowell; and their 4-year-old son, Matthew Crowell, The Morning Call reported.

The jury found that that St. Luke’s in Fountain Hill and Dr. Ronald Kriner disregarded signs that Matthew Crowell was losing a substantial amount of oxygen during delivery on Nov. 4, 2009, and was too large for Sharon Crowell to deliver, according to The Morning Call. Lawyers for the family argued that the baby lost additional oxygen when he got stuck during a vaginal delivery in which vacuum extraction was used. Mark Crowell told The Morning Call that his son barely had a pulse when he was born.

According to the lawsuit, the baby was pale and hypotonic with poor respiratory effort after birth and displayed “seizure-like activity,” The Morning Call reported. Matthew also experienced brain bleeding. After giving birth Sharon Crowell also experienced problems. According to the lawsuit, she was hemorrhaging blood and needed to have emergency surgery.

The lack of oxygen Matthew received has resulted in a vast amount of medical issues for him, many of which may be permanent. According to the family, the boy is severely developmentally delayed, suffers from cerebral palsy, has trouble talking and walking, and still wears diapers, The Morning Call reported. The family said the fetal monitoring showed it should have been a C-section delivery and if the baby had been delivered by C-section, he would have been healthy. The jury ruled that the hospital and Kriner are each 50 percent to blame.

At the time of Matthew’s birth, the family lived in the Lehigh Valley. The family has since moved to Mountain Top, Luzerne County so they could be closer to family and receive more help with the child.

Medical malpractice lawsuits, such as the one won by the Crowell family, continue to be filed across the United States. According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), more than 225,000 people die every year due to medical malpractice. Nearly half of those deaths occur in hospital emergency rooms. Equally alarming was a study conducted by Harvard Medical School that found that more than 1 in 20 patients were harmed due to medical malpractice. disclaimer: This article: Family Awarded $55 Million in Malpractice Case Against Hospital, Surgeon was posted on Friday, December 27th, 2013 at 9:18 pm at and is filed under Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.

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