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Erb's Palsy Victory?

Submitted by Anonymous on Mar 30th, 2009

A classic birth injury story coupled with medical malpractice:

An Irish boy was born in 1995 with Erb's Palsy, a condition marked by the tearing of nerves in the head and neck, most commonly in and around the shoulder blade. Though the mother remarked on the bruising and red eyes of her son at the time, her worries were dismissed by the hospital staff, noting that it was just a bruise and that the boy wouldn't need surgery.

Fast forward several years: the boy still couldn't straighten his arm, and would run hunched forward with his shoulder down.

And in the past few days, the boy achieved a victory for his injuries from the High Court - a 270,000 Euro settlement (approximately $376,000 US).

But how big of a victory is this?

If this case were in the US, the boy would receive approximately $4,700/year for the rest of his life;

The average cost of health care in the United States is $7,900/person (2007 data);

How is the difference made up? Government assistance. Just like in the UK.

Oh wait, you cry - this was in Ireland, not in the United States - if it were in the US, the judgment would be much higher!

Not in some states. Texas, for example, has limited the amount a person can recover; Hawaii is about to limit the amount a person can recover to $275,000; Georgia has limited the amount a person can recover to $250,000. Many other states have undertaken the task to limit a victim's recovery for all case types - not just medical malpractice and injury.

Score one for tort reform. And score a huge loss to permanently disabled and disfigured birth injury victims.