A Baltimore judge has reduced the $229.6 million awarded by a jury to a 16-year-old Prince George’s County mother whose baby suffered a brain injury at birth, but the sum still exceeds $200 million.
The move this week by a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge was expected because Maryland has a cap on non-economic damages. That portion of the award was reduced to $740,000 from $25 million.
Attorneys for Erica Byrom, the mother, at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, believe the award initially rendered in July against Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center remains a record amount.
The judge, Audrey S. Carrion, also denied Hopkins Bayview’s motion for a new trial.
The mother’s attorneys had argued that the mother had been given inaccurate information about the condition of her unborn baby when she was brought to Hopkins in labor in 2014, leading her to decline a c-section that would have delivered her baby more quickly.
The baby Zubida now suffers from cerebral palsy and is living in foster care, where she requires 16 hours a day of skilled nursing care, the lawyers said.
In a statement, Kim Hoppe, a Hopkins spokeswoman, said cases like this one are “tragic,” but Hopkins officials were disappointed with the ruling and would appeal.
“We are confident in the care this patient received, and we have provided ample evidence in the public record that the mother declined our recommended care for both mother and baby and that we appropriately informed her multiple times of all of the risks associated with her decision,” Hoppe said.
“In addition, the jury’s award in this case far exceeds what even the plaintiff was seeking,” she said. “There should be a better solution in the state of Maryland to meet the medical needs of children in these tragic circumstances. If that does not happen, the number of Maryland physicians and hospitals able to take the risk of caring for OB patients will likely decrease.”