By Emily Cox
A New York jury returned with a $26 million verdict late last month for a medical malpractice lawsuit over allegations that a birth injury left a girl deaf and may have caused the death of her twin sister less than a month after their birth.
Danielle Madden-Buck filed the birth injury complaint. She claims the hospital’s negligence caused her to go into labor less than 30 weeks into her pregnancy. Consequently, her daughter, Aleigha Buck, was born deaf and mute along with a myriad of other health problems.
According to Madden-Buck, Maimonides Medical Center failed to provide her with proper pregnancy care when she started showing significant preterm labor signs only 21 weeks into her pregnancy. She went to the medical center multiple times due to painful cramping and abnormal discharge in February 2010. However, the hospital dismissed her symptoms and sent her home. Later, testing would reveal that her cervix was shortened.
Her daughter, Aleigha, is now seven years old. She was born later the same month the hospital kept turning her mother away. Because of her premature birth, she requires hearing aids and communicates through sign language. Her sister, Madelyn, died less than a month after their birth.
Following the month-long trial, a Brooklyn jury awarded the mother and daughter $20 million for future pain and suffering. They tacked on another $4 million for previous pain and suffering and $1.6 million in future lost wages. The verdict also allocated $500,000 for Madelyn Buck’s wrongful death.
Hospital officials maintain that the facility provided Madden-Buck and her unborn children with excellent care and indicate that the medical center disagrees with the jury’s verdict. However, the parties reached an agreement that set minimum and maximum limits on any resulting verdict. Consequently, the medical center cannot appeal the verdict.