Family awarded $97.4 million for botched birth that left child with severe brain damage

Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 1:31 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 2:07 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) – A family at the center of a medical malpractice lawsuit in Iowa was awarded $97.4 million after their newborn was left with severe brain damage, requiring lifelong medical care.

The lawsuit states the baby was in fetal distress during the birth in August 2018 and was not receiving enough oxygen to the brain, a signal that a cesarean section should have been performed to keep the child safe.

However, according to the lawsuit, Dr. Jill Goodman continued with a vaginal birth, including using forceps to try to pull the baby out, fracturing his skull in the process and causing brain damage.

Geoffery Fieger, the attorney for the Kromphardt family, said Goodman fractured the child’s skull “like an eggshell” with the forceps.

“And then when she couldn’t get the baby out with forceps, she used a vacuum extractor, which you’re never supposed to do after failed forceps,” Fieger said. “He has terrible brain damage, and he’ll require 24-hour daycare for the rest of his life.”

The baby was diagnosed with ischemic brain injury, seizures, facial nerve palsy and skull fracture with subdural hemorrhage – all caused by the head injury, according to the lawsuit.

The Kromphardt family brought the medical malpractice lawsuit against Mercy Hospital, Dr. Jill Goodman and OB-GYN Associates.

A jury returned a verdict Monday in favor of the family, awarding them $97.4 million – the largest amount awarded in Iowa state history for a medical malpractice case.

The payment to the family will be split evenly between the doctor’s office and the hospital. The money was awarded for future, lifelong medical care expenses of the child, who is now 3 years old, and for pain and suffering.

Following the verdict, Mercy Iowa City released a statement: “Mercy Iowa City is disappointed in the verdict. While we respect the legal process, we disagree with the jury’s conclusion and will consider all available options. Our primary focus remains on providing high-quality care to our patients and families.”

OB-GYN Associates of Iowa City also released a statement: “While we have great respect for the legal process, we are disappointed in the jury’s finding. We are reviewing our legal options moving forward.”

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