Obstetrical coverage for people in “underserved areas” fails a young mother.
Our young female client lived in a tough section of Kensington in Philadelphia. She delivered her daughter at a small community hospital nearby. The infant suffered from severe cerebral palsy, which left her virtually immobile and with severe respiratory problems that required her mother’s constant attention.
In the course of litigation, it was learned that the physician who delivered the baby had been assigned to the hospital pursuant to a federal program to provide obstetricians in “underserved” a/k/a poverty-stricken areas. The defendant physician who had been selected for this position, however, had had to close his private practice at least in part because he had been named as a defendant in at least 17 prior medical negligence claims involving serious injuries to newborn infants.
Meanwhile, the family was struggling: The provision of prescribed therapies for the child was erratic; necessary equipment was not delivered; and school bus attendants refused to climb the two sets of stairs necessary to pick up the child and bring her to the bus for school. To help our client, one of our paralegal advocated on her behalf with the local intermediate unit to obtain these essential services for the child during the litigation process.
As the court date drew close, we agreed with defense counsel to attempt to mediate the case in an effort to reach a settlement without the need for a lengthy and expensive trial. We were able to obtain a substantial settlement and set up a trust for the benefit of the minor-plaintiff.
The trust purchased a handicapped-accessible house in a safe neighborhood with a good school system, and provided funding for nursing care at home in order to keep the little girl healthy so she could attend school, as well as much-needed reliable transportation to and from school. Ultimately, the child’s mother was able to then go off welfare and get back to work.
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