pregnancy Unusual Baby Stories

Florida Mom Awarded $10M In Ambulance Birth Lawsuit

A jury awarded a Florida mom $10 million after finding the EVAC ambulance service negligent in the premature birth of a boy, now 6 years old and suffering with cerebral palsy.

Margarita Chess was just over 6 months pregnant, when she went into labor. Instead of admitting her, Halifax Medical Center called the Volusia County ambulance service to transport her to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.

Margarita’s son arrived during the trip weighing 1lb 7ozs and though paramedics did CPR, the baby was deprived of oxygen.

Earlier the hospitals and doctors settled for $1.4 million but EVAC went to trial and, according to the jury, is responsible for $8.6 million.

EVAC spokesman Mark O’Keefe said

“EVAC Paramedics have to care for the tragic consequences of illness and injury everyday. We stand behind our paramedics and intend to appeal this verdict.”

The mother’s attorney, Bob Kelley, was satisfied with the jury’s decision.

“Unfortunately, there is no amount of money that can bring justice for Addison for what happened to him, but this will help his family take care of him,” he said.

While I understand the heartbreak this family has probably been through, I know MANY families who have had hospital births that are fully staffed with all of the equipment and their preemies have still ended up with Cerebral Palsy.

Origins of Cerebral Palsy posts this very interesting information regarding this:

Evidence suggests that 5 percent of newborns that weigh less than 3.5 pounds will develop CP. Neonate survivors born before week 33 are up to 30 times more likely to contract cerebral palsy than a baby born at term. The younger the individual, the lower their birth weight, the more vulnerable that individual is. An infant of less than 3 pounds is twice as likely to develop CP than a full term baby of more than 5 pounds.

“Of all children registered with the Western Australian Cerebral Palsy Register born 1986-1992, 34.7 per cent were born before 37 weeks and 24.8 per cent were born before 33 weeks, compared with 7.5 and 1.3 per cent respectively of all neonatal survivors in the same birth cohorts.” (004:61)

Extremely low birth weight infants are 100 times more likely to develop CP than a full term infant. In one large overview of 6399 very low birth weight children that survived neonatal intensive care, children that were evaluated up to age 3, the rate contracting CP was 77 per 1000. 2.5 per 1000 is the normal rate.

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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • Very unfortunate for the family. But how can an ambulance service be liable for merely trying to help this woman and her baby, not to mention just do their day to day job of trying to save lives! And the hospital that ordered the transfer. This happens all the time. If the hospital was too small, under equipped for such a risky birth, or didn’t have specialists that could provide the BEST medical care, it is very routine for patients to be transferred to a bigger, more staffed or more equipped hospital to provide the best care possible. Unfortunately, the majority of the public does not see this, nor do jury members who are given the spin on a story to garner sympathy. Unfortunately, this family will never receive the $10 million to “care” for this child, as half of that, probably $5 million goes to the attorneys anyway!

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