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Malpractice suit seeks $15M-$20M from doctor



Published: Tue, October 5, 2010 @ 12:04 a.m.

photo

Haley Cobb, 10, of Leavittsburg, takes a break outside of the courtroom of Judge W. Wyatt McKay in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. Her parents sued the doctor who delivered her in January 2000 for medical malpractice, saying the doctor’s failure to suggest Haley be delivered by Caesarean section caused the child’s cerebral palsy.

By ED RUNYAN

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

The attorney for the family of Haley Cobb, 10, of Leavittsburg said the failure of a Cortland doctor to advise Haley’s parents that the girl needed to be born by cesarean section was one of the reasons Haley was born with cerebral palsy.

Atty. Michael Djordjevic of Akron asked the jury during his opening statement in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to award Haley’s family $15 million to $20 million to pay the cost to care for the girl throughout her life.

Djordjevic spoke at the start of a medical- malpractice trial Monday before Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

An attorney for defendant Dr. Tara A. Shipman, who delivered the baby, said experts will testify, conversely, that Haley was “living with too little oxygen” for “weeks if not months” before her mother arrived at Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital to deliver the baby.

Defense counsel, Atty. Joseph A. Farchione of Cleveland, said the brain damage occurred before Haley’s mother, Debra Cobb, went to the hospital Jan. 3, 2000. He said lesions in the placenta — which provides a baby’s oxygen — are responsible for Haley’s permanent handicaps.

Djordjevic said the Cobb family has already settled with the estate of Dr. Edmundo B. Salero of Warren, now deceased, the anesthesiologist who Djordjevic said “botched” the resuscitation effort undertaken just after Haley was born.

The family also settled with the hospital’s nurses for their role in the failed resuscitation, Djordjevic said. The terms of those settlements were not disclosed.

Haley can’t roll over, talk, grab things or eat normal food, Djordjevic said. Her mental abilities are impaired, but she does know the alphabet and can count to 50, he said.

“She’s a prisoner in a body that doesn’t work,” Djordjevic said of the girl, who sat in a motorized wheelchair near her parents in the back of the courtroom during Djordjevic’s remarks.

Djordjevic noted that Debbie Cobb was one of Dr. Shipman’s first patients after Dr. Shipman completed her medical training and residency and that Dr. Shipman did not yet have enough experience to be board-certified.

Experts will testify, Djordjevic said, that Dr. Shipman deviated from the medical “standard of care” in a couple of ways the night and morning Haley was born, especially in not suggesting a C-section birth instead of a vaginal one.

Farchione said Haley’s birth is an example of the “reality” that even when the mother “does everything she is supposed to” and the doctor does “everything she can do within her power and within her knowledge, you can still have an unexpected, bad outcome, and that’s what happened.”


Comments

1southsidedave(4808 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

What a terrible story for his poor little girl.

However, the attorneys on both sides will make money and it will be back to business as usual.

Suggest removal:

2Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

As technology has advanced, allowing us to drop body temperature to allow surgeons to fix blood vessels filled with plaque, or to slowly raise the body temp of hypothermia victims, or allow doctors to deliver babies who weigh just a pound or two, science and medicine has raised expectations of patients and families.

People forget that 1. it's always been called the "art of medicine" because patient status is always changing and despite best efforts, doctors are not "God", and 2. nature would have decided fates far more often than doctors even 25 to 50 years ago. There were just as many babies born with disabilities. Just as many young and middle-aged adults prayed against hope to live-- but "heart-lung" transplants weren't even on the horizon yet.

Despite the blissful blessings that technology has given, there is always the risk that simple nature will win. nature doesn't take its case to a court of law, and in reality, few cases truly belong in our courts. People may cry out to judges today; in the past, they railed to God about the "injustices" of disability and death.

And still, each family still found a way to go on, without a million dollar judgement.

Perhaps people need to start volunteering in hospitals, as they used to do, to understand the truth about "life and death".

Suggest removal:


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