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$30.5 Million Verdict in Georgia Birth Injury Case

At 5 p.m. on November 9th, after a 2-1/2 week trial, a jury in Lawrenceville, Georgia handed down a $30.5 million ($30,545,655.00) verdict in favor of a severely brain damaged baby and her mother.  Attorneys Daniel S. Weinstock, G. Scott Vezina, and Carolyn M. Chopko , with local counsel Jed Manton of Harris Penn Lowry LLP, represented Zetah (mother) and Re’Ayah (daughter) against Gwinnett Medical Center and several of its doctors for negligently managing Zetah’s labor and delivery which resulted in baby Re’Ayah suffering a severe hypoxic ischemic brain injury and leading her to develop spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and a seizure disorder.

According to Weinstock “When we first looked at this case it was immediately clear to us that Gwinnett, and the doctors involved in managing Zetah’s care, continuously dropped the ball in terms of making sure a healthy baby was delivered properly. Thankfully, the jury saw the same egregious errors we did and their verdict will help ensure Zetah and Re’Ayah receive the continued care and assistance they need.”

On June 22, 2012, at 35 weeks pregnant, Zetah Louis presented to Maternal Gynerations, P.C for a regularly scheduled appointment. A non-stress test was performed and was non-reactive. A biophysical profile was performed and the result was equivocal. Three days later, Zetah again presented to Maternal Gynerations for an unscheduled visit, reporting reduced or absent fetal movement, and was seen by Williard C. Hearin, M.D. A non-stress test was performed and was again non-reactive. Ultrasound showed a potential ominous finding of reversal end diastolic blood flow. Dr. Hearin did not immediately plan delivery, which Weinstock contended was below the standard of care. Instead, he sent his patient to the hospital for continued monitoring and a maternal fetal medicine consult. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication, and the consult was delayed by three hours. After a significantly delayed triage and admission, and following numerous opportunities to intervene and deliver a normal and healthy baby, Dr. Hearin delivered severely brain injured Re’Ayah via emergency cesarean section due to a terminal bradycardia.

The jury found Gwinnett Medical Center 75% liable and Dr. Willard Hearin 25% liable.  Two additional physicians were found not liable by the jury. The jury awarded $3.5 million to the mother, Zetah Louis, and $27 million to the baby, Re’Ayah Louis.