The largest award for a medical malpractice lawsuit in the history of Frederick County was given to a young Adamstown woman this week after her son suffered permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy during his birth at a local hospital in May 2000.
Suzette Dineen was awarded almost $4 million by a Frederick County Circuit Court jury after coming to the conclusion that the woman’s obstetrician and emergency room doctor were negligent during the labor and birth process. The mother was rushed to Frederick Memorial Hospital when she was 8 months pregnant – but instead of being taken to the labor and delivery wing of the hospital, she was kept in the emergency room for three hours.
By the time the baby, Ryan Dineen, was delivered hours later by emergency c-section, he was not breathing and did not have a heart rate. Although he survived, he will have life-long disabilities and require 24-hour care due to his cerebral palsy. Shortly after Dineen arrived at the emergency room, the baby’s heartbeat was strong and healthy.
One emergency room doctor Brian Rader and obstetrician Edwin Chen were found negligent, while one other emergency room doctor and three nurses were cleared of any wrongdoing. The hospital was also cleared of fault in the medical malpractice suit.
While the bulk of the medical malpractice settlement was designated for Ryan’s long-term care, $300,000 in damages were for pain and suffering.
“In the right case, with the right set of facts, the Frederick County jury responded like anyone would respond,” the personal injury medical malpractice layer said. “I think that tells us something: that they’re concerned about accountability.”
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