A jury awarded an Iowa family the largest medical malpractice victory — and lump sum at $97.4 million — in the state’s history. The case contended that Dr. Jill Goodman should have determined a cesarean section was necessary to deliver a baby to the Kromphardt family, but failed to perform one. The baby suffered from traumatic brain injury due to a loss of oxygen and skull fracture.
Kromphardt attorney Geoffrey Fieger said, “He has terrible brain damage. And he’ll require 24-hour daycare for the rest of his life.”
Mercy Iowa City hospital released a written statement following the verdict: “Mercy Iowa City is disappointed in the verdict. While we respect the legal process, we disagree with the jury’s conclusion and will consider all available options. Our primary focus remains on providing high-quality care to our patients and families.”
The hospital’s legal team released a statement of their own: “While we have great respect for the legal process, we are disappointed in the jury’s finding. We are reviewing our legal options moving forward.”
The $97.4 million is to be paid by the doctor’s office overseeing the pregnancy and Mercy Iowa City. They owe $42 million for future medical care and $11.6 for loss of earnings. Each institution will pay $20 million for pain and suffering. No punitive damages were awarded, which means the judge and jury did not see fit to punish the institutions for gross negligence.
Fieger contended that the negligence was obvious. “[Dr. Jill Goodman] grabbed what is called forceps and tried to pull the baby out of the womb with forceps, fractured his skull, like an eggshell. And then when she couldn’t get the baby out with forceps, she used a Vacuum Extractor, which you’re never supposed to do after failed forceps.”
The legal options available to Mercy Iowa City are unclear at this time, as most appeals rely on mistakes made in the legal process — not disagreements over verdicts.