This week, a Pennsylvania jury awarded a six-year-old girl $40.3 million for spinal cord injuries she sustained during birth. As a result of the birth complications, Grayson Charlton is paralyzed from her mid-chest down and needs therapy multiple times a week.
Alex and Kira Charlton, Grayson’s parents, filed this medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and doctor in 2013. Up until delivery, Grayson appeared healthy. The family claimed that the doctor used excessive force during delivery.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Grayson Charlton was in the breech position when she was delivered at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Attorneys for the Charlton family argued that Dr. Steven Troy, the doctor who delivered Grayson and her twin sister, did not protect Grayson’s head and neck during her birth. They also claimed in court documents that Dr. Troy “did not have sufficient training, experience, or qualifications to undertake such a complicated delivery.”
The Legal Intelligencer reported that Dr. Troy pulled the baby through the birth canal rather than deliver her via cesarean section. Dr. Troy argued that his actions were within the standard of care.
A few days after she was born, Grayson was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Doctors there found that her injuries were due to “significant birth trauma.” Experts testified during the trial that scans of Grayson’s brain also showed trauma during her delivery.
Because of her injuries, Grayson will be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life and will not be able to feed herself. She will need occupational and physical therapy, regular doctors’ visits and personal assistance.
Grayson was awarded $30 million for medical expenses and $10 million for pain and suffering. There is no cap in Pennsylvania on non-economic awards.