Most doctors carry professional liability policies of $1 / $3 million limits. Dr. Kurt Haupt would certainly benefit from a $75 million policy.
He delivered a baby in April, 2009. The baby developed cerebral palsy. The plaintiff’s attorney argued “baby’s heart rate was fluctuating wildly and the doctor didn’t hasten the birth or conduct a proper examination of cord blood.”
Defense counsel countered a blockage of mucus in the baby’s airway, not the heart rate, caused the loss of oxygen to the patient’s brain that led her to develop cerebral palsy.
The hospital settled the case in advance of the trial. So, the verdict – a whopping large one – falls on the doctor’s lap.
Lawyer for the plaintiff wrote on a newspaper comment blog: “The hospital policy called for testing of the cord blood. The policy was not followed. The patient’s cord blood was thrown away….” The plaintiff’s lawyer also wrote the carrier refused to settle even when Dr. Haupt asked for settlement. The lawyer suggested the $74M will be paid for by the carrier because of their refusal to settle.
This is a sad case. Here’s what one labor and delivery nurse wrote in the paper – just below the plaintiff attorney’s post:
I have been a L/D nurse for six years now, and have participated in many, many deliveries with Dr. Haupt, in addition to close to a thousand more with the other local OBs. I know more about whom I would want in an emergency than the average person, and I chose Dr. Haupt as my obstetrician. I feel so fortunate I have had him to learn from all these years.
Hard to say whether this case will affect baby deliveries in San Luis Obispo where Dr. Haupt practices. I doubt the effect will be positive.