$10.2 million awarded to woman, son in malpractice suit

October 30, 1997|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

An article in Thursday's editions of The Sun about a Baltimore Circuit Court jury's awarding $10.2 million to a Baltimore woman and her son incorrectly stated that part of the award was for punitive damages. Those damages were for pain and suffering.

The Sun regrets the errors.

A jury in Baltimore Circuit Court has awarded $10.2 million to a woman and her son in a medical malpractice case that stemmed from the boy's birth eight years ago, that left him mentally disabled.

In the lawsuit, Deborah Ringgold of Baltimore accused Dr. Dario A. Ugarte and the Carefirst Health Maintenance Organization of negligence in the birth of her son May 25, 1989.


Ringgold said in the suit that Ugarte, who was working at a Carefirst clinic, did not recognize that her child was suffering distress before birth, waited at least two hours to deliver the child after arriving at the hospital, then used forceps to deliver the child, permanently damaging his brain.

The jury awarded the Ringgolds $5.8 million Tuesday for the child's future medical care, $1.1 million for future loss of earnings and $3.35 million in punitive damages. The last figure may be subject to a challenge because of a Maryland law that caps noneconomic damages at $500,000.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland, which has owned Carefirst since 1991, declined to discuss the case but issued a statement.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield is disappointed with the judgment," said Glenn Small, a spokesman for the company, quoting the statement. "While this incident occurred prior to our purchase of Carefirst, we steadfastly believe that the HMO did nothing wrong. We will appeal the jury's award."

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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