Feds Pay $1.25 Million To End Baby Brain Damage And Death Suit
By Y. Peter Kang Law360 (May 2, 2019, 8:09 PM EDT) — A Florida federal judge has approved a $1.25 million settlement to resolve a suit accusing a federally funded health clinic of negligently causing a newborn’s brain damage, which ultimately resulted in his death 14 months later.
U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke signed off on the deal to end a Federal Tort Claims Act suit accusing Dr. Carlos A. Rodriguez, an employee of Citrus Health Network Inc., of failing to timely perform an emergency Cesarean section on patient Dayami Hernandez, which caused her son to suffer permanent and severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. The suit also claims that the alleged negligence caused the baby’s death in April 2018.
The judge found that the terms of the deal were fair and reasonable and approved attorney fees of 25% of the settlement amount and costs of approximately $54,000.
“While it was a tragic case that no amount of money would fix, we are appreciative that the federal government took the case seriously, and after extensive litigation, resolved the matter,” said Richard “Bo” Sharp, one of the Hernandez family’s attorneys who served as lead counsel. “I’m just glad we could help the family since the case was turned down by other attorneys before we took over.”
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The suit claims that Rodriguez breached the standard of care by choosing to go home in the early hours of Jan. 24, 2017, despite Hernandez’s status as a high-risk maternity patient and despite the fact that she was on the labor-inducing drug Pitocin, which is known to cause birth complications.
Rodriguez also failed to obtain another physician to take his place should an emergency occur, according to an amended complaint.
The Hernandez family is represented by Richard “Bo” Sharp and Vidian Mallard of Mallard & Sharp PA, and Gerald E. Greenberg and Freddy Funes of Gelber Schachter & Greenberg PA.
The government is represented by Lawrence Rosen and Charles S. White of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
The case is Hernandez et al. v. U.S., case number 1:18-cv-20579, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
–Editing by Adam LoBelia.
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