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Record N.C. Malpractice Award Granted

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

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

The child, now 3, is unable to eat, walk, talk or sit up and she isnearly blind. Christopher and Ashea Griffin had sought compensatorydamages 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 tohelp labor. The skull fractured, and blood leaked into the brain. ACaesarean delivery was made, but by then the infant's brain had becomeoxygen-starved.

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

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