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Hospital must pay $8.4 million after boys injury at birth
Jury rules Medical Center bears brunt of blame in suit; appeal uncertain
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A jury has ruled Northeast Georgia Medical Center must award $8.4 million to the family of a boy who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy following an injury at his 2008 birth.

Jakob Medley, now 5, suffered from a delayed delivery, requiring immediate resuscitation, according to the family’s lawsuit. A tube was not inserted to help Jakob breathe until eight minutes after delivery.

A jury in Hall County State Court found the Gainesville hospital at fault Monday and handed down the $8,455,597 verdict against the hospital.

“We are surprised by the jury’s verdict in this case,” read a statement from the hospital. “It is our position that we met the standard of care based on the clinical evidence, and the outcome was not a result of our staff’s actions. We wish the best for Jakob’s future and his family.”

Hospital officials said they have not determined whether they will appeal.

The case named both Northeast Georgia Medical Center and The Longstreet Clinic, but 100 percent of the fault was designated by the jury to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, according to court documents.

“We are pleased that we were completely exonerated and that the care we provided was appropriate,” said Longstreet spokeswoman Erin Williamson. “We feel badly that our hospital partner in this case did not receive the same consideration.”

Jakob, who now lives in Auburn with his grandmother, is in a wheelchair, unable to walk or talk and requires a feeding tube.

“The big picture of what the case was about was the management of the labor and delivery ...” said Gerald Jowers, attorney for the Medley family.

According to the original complaint, Jakob began exhibiting possible signs on Nov. 15, 2008, of fetal intolerance, meaning low oxygenation, several hours after being admitted to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Nurses gave Jakob’s mother, Heather Medley, an oxygen mask to help with resuscitation. A Longstreet Clinic certified nurse midwife assisted in the delivery.

“(Jakob) sustained a very serious injury to his brain because of inadequate oxygen,” Jowers said.

Jakob was given a breathing tube eight minutes after his delivery, and was later transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit, according to the complaint. The main resuscitation team, Jowers said, was busy working on another cesarean section during Jakob’s delivery. The backup resuscitation help wasn’t alerted, Jowers added.

Attempts to reach the family through its attorney were unsuccessful.

“The proceeds will be used to establish a trust, which will then provide for all of his medical needs, which are great, throughout his life,” Jowers said. “It will get him the care that he always will need.”