October 24, 2014
According to court documents, Jakob Medley, now a 5-year-old, was born in November 2008 at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, in Gainesville. While his mother, Heather Medley, was giving birth to him, Jakob went through a delayed delivery, which required immediate medical intervention. However, it took eight minutes for the medical staff to insert a tube into the baby’s lungs, which would have given him the oxygen he was deprived of.
Jakob was showing signs of distress upon his mother’s admittance into the hospital, including signs of oxygen deprivation. Medley was given an oxygen mask while a certified nurse midwife from the Longstreet Clinic helped with the delivery. One delivered, Jakob was taken to the hospital’s neonatal unit, but not until after the full 8 minutes passed before he was given a breathing tube. The delay in inserting the breathing tube resulted in severe oxygen deprivation, leading to Jakob’s development of cerebral palsy. Per the lawsuit, the baby wasn’t given the breathing treatments in time because the hospital’s resuscitation team was not alerted immediately.
The jury awarded Jakob and his family a total of $8,455,597 in a verdict against the hospital. The Longstreet Clinic was also named in the lawsuit since a nurse midwife helped with the delivery, but the jury decided that North Georgia Medical Center alone was 100% responsible. Shortly after the verdict, the hospital released a statement.
“We are surprised by the jury’s verdict in this case. 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,” read the hospital’s statement. “We wish the best for Jakob’s future and his family.”
A spokesperson from Longstreet also made a statement after the clinic was released from liability.
“We are pleased that we were completely exonerated and that the care we provided was appropriate. We feel badly that our hospital partner in this case did not receive the same consideration,” said Erin Williamson, the spokesperson for Longstreet.
Jakob, who currently lives with his grandmother in Auburn, is expected to deal with medical issues the rest of his life. He cannot walk or talk, and requires a special tube for feeding. The compensation will help pay his medical care.
“(Jakob) sustained a very serious injury to his brain because of inadequate oxygen. 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. It will get him the care that he always will need,” said the family’s attorney.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), babies who experience oxygen deprivation before, during, or shortly after birth are a heightened risk of developing a wide array of medical problems that could last a lifetime. For instance, babies who lack oxygen while still in utero have a significantly higher risk of developing ADHD, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, social problems, emotional issues, and severe brain damage.