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Record-setting $20.5 million medical malpractice judgment upheld

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has let stand a $20.5 million verdict against a doctor and hospital. The medical malpractice judgment is one of the largest ever granted in the northeastern part of the state.

Just north of Lehigh Valley, up in Lackawanna County, a jury returned the record-setting verdict in 2008 against Community Medical Center and the doctor involved in the case. The case was pursued after the baby boy of a couple from Jermyn suffered permanent injury during birth as a result, they argued, of negligence on the part of the doctor and hospital. The appeals court ultimately refused to hear the doctor's appeal of the damage award, thereby letting the judgment stand as rendered.

The specific details of the negligence, which occurred in 2001, were not provided in a recent news article. It is only known that the boy suffers from cerebral palsy. Prior to the doctor's petition to the state Supreme Court to hear the appeal, a plea to the Pennsylvania Superior Court was denied as well.

Medical malpractice remains a significant concern in our state and throughout the country. No price can truly be put on a life permanently altered because of the negligence of another. One can scarcely imagine how the events that unfolded for this family changed all their lives forever.

Those in and near Lehigh Valley that suspect they or a loved one have been victimized by the negligent care of a medical professional or institution would do well to seek appropriate advice to both preserve important evidence and assess potential liability to recover monetary damages through a medical malpractice claim. While money cannot change any tragedy that has occurred, it can help with covering essential expenses and other damages occasioned by the wrongful conduct.

Source:, "Supreme Court denies doctor's appeal of $20.5 million jury verdict," March 3, 2012

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