In Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Christina Late and Nathan Armolt have been awarded $42 million to cover the health care expenses of their son, who sustained a brain injury during birth because of the physician’s improper use of forceps. The child is expected to spend the rest of his life coping with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Dr. Orndorf, the OB/GYN handling the delivery at the federally funded Keystone Clinic, began early in the process to use forceps, then re-applied them and forcefully pulled several times, despite the use of the delivery tool being premature at that stage of labor. The baby was born with forceps marks on his face and, within a few hours, began to show signs of intracranial bleeding and pressure.
While the five-year-old can understand language, he cannot learn to read or write and will be confined to a wheelchair. He has also undergone six brain and spinal surgeries and may need additional surgery in the future. He will likely need to be institutionalized by age 22. $33 million of the award was allocated for future medical and attendant care.
The remainder of the $42 million was for pain and suffering, loss of future earnings and fringe benefits, plus past medical expenses. The award is believed to be the largest medical malpractice award in Pennsylvania’s middle district.
Dr. Orndorf acknowledged the fact that using forceps increased the risk of injury to the mother and the baby.