Cerebral Palsy Verdict Hardly Victory for Mother

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Today, Suzette Dineen spends a fair amount of her time caring for her son Ryan Dineen, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. However, it is possible that Ryan never was intended to have these complications at all since the cerebral palsy cause was not genetic, and if the court’s opinion counts, it is the doctors’ fault that he does.

Delay of Treatment at the Hospital

In May of 2000, Suzette entered at the Frederick Memorial Hospital at 5am complaining about abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, however, the problem was that Suzette was pregnant with Ryan, and therefore, at greater risk than the typical patient with similar symptoms. Furthermore, the hospital had sufficient staff and space to deal with this potential medical emergency, but Suzette still managed to be forced to wait over three hours before being allowed to receive medical care. Not only does the extended wait period defy logic, but also, it also violated hospital policy. Instead of being immediately brought to the labor and delivery suite of the medical center like all pregnant patients over 20 weeks with similar symptoms are supposed to be, Suzette was forced to wait in a common area waiting room for nearly three hours without assistance from a doctor. Granted, nurses offered pain medication and took the unborn infant’s heartbeat at around 5:45 am. It was not until after 8am that a doctor came to see Suzette Dineen, at which time the attending nurse could not located the pulse of the unborn baby Ryan.

Emergency Medical Care and the Aftermath

Immediately, Suzette was rushed into surgery for an emergency delivery c section. Sadly, her newborn son Ryan was delivered suffering from a permanent, lifelong medical condition known as cerebral palsy. Due to this, Ryan must receive special medical care for his entire life.

Legal representatives and healthcare professionals at the hospital attempted to convince Suzette and her attorneys that the cerebral palsy was something that randomly happened, or fait accompli. However, the lost blood flow, due to the lost pulse in unborn Ryan, caused major, lifelong damage to the brain of the unborn child.

Eventually, after nine long years of litigation, Suzette and her son finally resolved their suit against the hospital with a damage award from the courts of four million dollars with three hundred and fifty thousand dollars accounting for pain and suffering. The media, however, balked at the large sum of money and immediately took stances against tort laws and malpractice suits.

The Reality of the Rest of Ryan and Suzette Dineen’s Life

In reality, Ms. Dineen now faces decades of caring for her son’s condition, which includes extra medical care and therapy for the remainder of his life. Realistically, the damage award, although large, will not cover the expenses associated with lifelong care of a person with cerebral palsy. This is not to mention the exhaustive care, attention, and help Ms. Dineen must provide for her child, in lieu of earning more income. Realistically, the $4 million dollar damage award pales in comparison to all the costs faced by Ms. Dineen and her handicapped son, Ryan.


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