Woman, disabled daughter win suit

UM Medical Center to pay $6.9 million for negligence

April 15, 2005|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury yesterday awarded $6.9 million to an Eastern Shore woman and her disabled daughter after finding that doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center were negligent in failing to accurately diagnose and treat the woman for premature labor.

Latrice Stanton-Christian, 20, who lives in Cambridge, said the first thing she did when she got home from the courthouse was to tell her now-3-year-old daughter, Ladrea Stanton, about her victory.

"For me, it is the happiest day of my life," she said.

A spokeswoman for the University of Maryland Medical Center said that the hospital is "looking into the possibility of an appeal." Spokeswoman Ellen Beth Levitt said that the care provided Stanton-Christian was "absolutely appropriate." She said hospital officials "extend their deepest sympathy to the family," but don't believe they could have done anything differently to change the outcome for the child.

Attorney Gary A. Wais, who represented the mother and daughter, said that the jury award would help cover Ladrea's long-term medical care. The little girl, who was born 15 weeks premature, is blind and has cerebral palsy. She has limited mental abilities and cannot communicate well.

On March 1, 2002, Stanton-Christian, then 17, arrived at the downtown Baltimore hospital complaining of abdominal pressure and contractions, according to court documents. The young woman was supposed to deliver her baby June 10.

A medical resident examined Stanton-Christian and noted that she had a shortened cervix, a condition that can lead to premature birth. But rather than giving the young mother a dose of magnesium sulfate to delay labor or administering betamethasone, a type of steroid, to bolster lung development in case of premature birth, the medical resident discharged the patient, court documents say.

But Stanton-Christian never made it past the hospital lobby when she began to bleed, according to court documents. Doctors eventually performed an emergency cesarean section, Wais said.

The attorney argued that doctors who were supervising the medical resident should have stepped in to treat Stanton-Christian sooner.

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