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Doctor Negligence Causes Baby's Permanent Brain Damage, Jury Awards Family $30M

A jury at the Hampden Superior Court in Springfield has awarded almost $30 million to a Holyoke family after their baby suffered a serious and permanent neurological injury at birth. The baby, according to the pretrial report, was left in a “hostile uterine environment” and not delivered in a timely manner, which worsened a pre-existing condition.

The lawsuit alleges that Dr. David Seubert was negligent in his treatment and care of a now 11-year-old girl, who is legally blind, cannot walk or speak, and is fed through a gastric tube. The girl also has a tracheotomy, a hole in her neck that must be suctioned several times per hour to allow her to breathe. The suit claimed this negligence was based on a failure to do seven critical things, including assessing test results and failing to order a cesarean section when necessary.

According to a pretrial report, the mother was 28 weeks pregnant when she noticed her baby had decreased movement. After being admitted to the hospital and monitored, the baby’s heart rate dropped. Dr. Seubert was on call, but did not respond. Hours later, the baby’s heart rate was extremely low for a period of eight minutes, after which a C-section was finally ordered. By then, the baby had suffered a severe brain injury from the lack of blood flow and oxygen.

Six doctors involved in the girl’s birth in 2004 were named in the suit, but four were found not negligent and one was removed as a defendant.

Seubert’s Massachusetts license lapsed in 2011. He is now practicing in Rochester, NY.

Seubert’s lawyer commented that the doctor and others attending this particular birth did the best job that they could given the circumstances of the mother’s complex medical condition and a premature infant with a pre-existing condition. Dr. Seubert is concerned that this large judgment will set an unfair precedent that may harm doctors, hospitals, and other facets of medical practice.