A jury has rejected the “unknown infection” argument presented by the defense and awarded more than $50 million to the Ewing family after a birth injury caused Isaiah Ewing’s cerebral palsy.
In 2004, Lisa Ewing went to the hospital after noticing her baby was moving less than usual. A first-year resident was able to diagnose fetal distress within minutes, but no practicing doctor saw Lisa for more than 11 hours. It was over 12 hours before a cesarean section was performed and it was discovered Isaiah was not breathing. He was in critical condition for four weeks before being released, suffering brain damage and cerebral palsy as a result of the lack of oxygen to his brain.
The Ewings sued the hospital in 2013, arguing that the staff failed to recognize fetal distress and perform a cesarean section in a timely manner, which may have saved Isaiah from the condition he now lives with. The hospital argued that Isaiah was born with normal oxygen levels in his blood and thus the injury occurred before Lisa came to the hospital, caused by an “unknown infection.”
However, the hospital could not identify the infection and couldn’t provide any further information about it. Nonetheless they continued to insist it was there and was the reason for the injury. Jack Beam of Beam Legal Team, one of the attorneys for the Ewing family, argued “Their sole defense was that an infection during Lisa’s pregnancy caused cerebral palsy. Our experts disagreed, and the university’s own pediatric infectious disease specialist had looked for—but ruled out—infection.”
The jury ruled in favor of the Ewings, awarding $53 million, including just under $29 million for future life care costs, $7 million for medical expenses, and more. The Ewing family now will not have to worry about Isaiah’s future, knowing Lisa, a single mother, can afford to give him the care and constant supervision he needs.
The hospital has since moved to declare a mistrial, contending that the closing arguments deprived the hospital of a fair trial. That motion was rejected and the verdict was entered. However, the hospital has once again filed a motion for a new trial, which will be completed by the end of this year.