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Physicians owe patients delivering babies in Florida hospitals the utmost duty of care. Holding negligent doctors responsible for injuries and premature deaths may help surviving relatives seek relief for the victim’s and their own pain and suffering. A jury may place a great deal of weight on the lasting mental and emotional suffering endured by a wrongful death victim’s family members. 

A grieving husband and his four children received a jury award of $24.5 million after their wife and mother bled to death from a Cesarean section procedure, as reported by the Herald-Tribune. Records of the hospital’s scheduling for July 21, 2015 showed that the 34-year-old pregnant mother’s C-section would take place at 10:00 a.m. Her team of doctors, however, did not perform the procedure until after midnight on July 22. The more than 14-hour difference in time resulted in her bleeding to death in the hospital shortly after the birth of her daughter. During the trial, doctors admitted to their negligence. 

While no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, Floridians can take comfort in knowing that pain and suffering is cause for legal justice. In the case of the death resulting from the delayed C-section, the husband and four surviving children of the deceased mother had previously received a settlement of $1 million each for the doctors’ negligence. The 2019 damages-only jury trial, however, focused on the lasting mental and emotional pain the family has suffered over the years following the fatal childbirth. 

The jury divided the $24.5 million damages-only award between the widower and the four surviving children. The largest amount went to the child who was born during the tragic 2015 C-section. Currently approaching her fourth birthday, the jury awarded the young girl an additional $6.12 million for the loss of her mother’s “parental companionship, instruction and guidance” in addition to her emotional pain and suffering. The jury deliberated for only two hours before deciding on their award verdict. 

It is difficult to quantify how much monetary compensation might reasonably make up for surviving family members’ mental and emotional suffering. According to a study conducted by University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, juries may tend to base their award decisions on the emotional impact suffered by both victims and family members. As reported by MarketWatch, this may result in a jury calculating a much higher award. 

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