Oakwood Annapolis Hospital Loses a $6.15 Million Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court
The Observer & Eccentric Newspapers, December 2002 Issue
Written By Doug Johnson (staff writer), Dec. 2002
A jury found the hospital “professionally negligent” during the birth of Kimberly Cole of Dearborn Heights. She survived the birth but has a milder case of cerebral palsy according to the family’s attorney, Jesse Reiter. She will need future surgeries, but could have poor dexterity in her hands and may have a learning disability.
Oakwood spokeswoman Martha Shea said the corporation will appeal the verdict.
Annapolis, a 286-bed facility which serves many patients from Westland and Garden City, is in Wayne and is part of the Oakwood Healthcare System operating hospitals in southeast Michigan. They also operate offices and centers in Garden City and Westland as well, including the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center on Central City Parkway.
“They (Oakwood) dug their heels in on this,” Reiter said. “They took a very hard line. They should have said we have an error here.”
Reiter said the young girl, who is now 6-years-old, was subpoenaed by Oakwood’s attorney and asked questions in Judge John Murphy’s courtroom. “It was very painful. We didn’t want to bring her in. It was a traumatic event for her.”
The doctor in the case, Dr. John Armstead, was cleared of negligence by the trial. Oakwood’s statement after the verdict was brief:
“Oakwood is gratified that no cause of action was found for the attending physician and is confident the nursing staff involved in the incident provided the highest quality care and medical treatment.”
Reiter said the doctor was in the hospital at the time but was not called into the labor room by the nurse until about three hours before delivery when problems developed. The nurse claimed to have called the doctor but her claims could not be supported by the written case record, according to Reiter.
Reiter said the doctor would have offered a Cesarean section. “There was general agreement that a C-section performed sooner would have prevented brain injury,” Reiter said.
Reiter said the child’s life expectancy is 75 years. He fully expects the verdict to be reduced to about $2 million when finally settled.
Reiter and his partner, Rebecca Walsh, focus their practice on childbirth negligence cases. “We represent kids,” Reiter said. They filed the suit in January 2001. The trial took about seven weeks and jury deliberation took about four or five hours, taking place on different days.
— This is a reprint of an article that appeared in a December 2002 issue of the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers, and is reprinted here with permission.