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June 2011

Denver Partner Obtains Defense Verdict in Cerebral Palsy Case

Denver Partner John Palmeri recently completed a three week jury trial in a cerebral palsy case in which the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Gordon & Rees's client. 

A 14-month old boy presented with respiratory symptoms and was admitted to the hospital.  A pediatrician, represented by Gordon & Rees, admitted and treated the boy in the hospital.  After three days in the hospital, the patient was discharged.  Eight days later, he suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest while at daycare.  Four days later, a bronchoscopy was performed and a foreign body, a peanut, was found in his left main stem bronchus.  Unfortunately, the boy had been without oxygen for a significant period of time and suffered permanent brain damage.  He was diagnosed with spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy. 

The boy's parents sued the pediatrician, a radiologist and the daycare center.  The radiologist and daycare center settled with the family.  The claims against the pediatrician proceeded to trial.  At trial, plaintiffs argued that the peanut was present at the time of the hospitalization and that the pediatrician failed to properly diagnose and treat it.  The pediatrician denied negligence and disputed that the foreign body was present at the time of the hospital admission.  Plaintiffs sought recovery for economic and non-economic damages.  The economic losses included $1.5 million in past medical expenses, $16.6 million in future medical expenses and $3.0 million in lost earnings.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the pediatrician.

John M. Palmeri