Local News

Record N.C. Malpractice Award Granted

Posted September 6, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A jury has awarded $23 million to a Monroe couple whose child was oxygen-deprived during birth and was severely brain-damaged as a result. That is an unprecedented amount for a medical malpractice award in North Carolina.

The Mecklenburg Superior Court jury found that the injury was due to the malpractice by obstetrician Alice Teague of Charlotte Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The child, now 3, is unable to eat, walk, talk or sit up and she is nearly blind. Christopher and Ashea Griffin had sought compensatory damages to ensure that their child will always be properly taken care of; they did not seek punitive damages.

During delivery, Teague used a vacuum extractor on the baby's head to help labor. The skull fractured, and blood leaked into the brain. A Caesarean delivery was made, but by then the infant's brain had become oxygen-starved.

Griffin is a chicken farmer; his wife takes care of Bailey, and their second child, who was born healthy last month.

Teague's defense argued that her delivery plans were within the standard of care, and that the baby's injuries arose due to a pre-existing condition or by something beyond Teague's control.