DES MOINES, Iowa — The family of a boy whose brain was severely injured during birth at an Iowa City hospital has been awarded $97.4 million — believed to be the largest medical malpractice verdict in Iowa's history.
A Johnson County judge handed down the award on Monday following a 14-day trial, the Des Moines Register reported. It came in a lawsuit filed by Kathleen and Andrew Kromphardt against Mercy Hospital Iowa City and an obstetrician.
The family’s lawsuit contended that the boy’s brain damage was caused by medical staff’s failure to act on signs that the baby was being deprived of oxygen in the hours before his birth and failure to deliver the baby by cesarean section.
The boy is now 3 years old and is unable to walk by himself or speak beyond a few words. The family says he will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
Des Moines attorney Fred James, who helped represent the Kromphardts, said he believed it was the largest medical malpractice verdict in Iowa history.
The hospital and the doctor’s medical practice are to each pay half the award, which includes about $42.2 million to go for costs of the boy’s future medical or custodial care. The rest is for loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering and other damages.
The hospital and doctor denied wrongdoing. Each released statements saying they are reviewing their legal options.