The parents of a severely brain-damaged New Hampshire boy will be awarded $5 million to pay for his long-term care, under a settlement of a lawsuit filed against the doctor and nurse who handled the boy’s delivery at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.
Michelle and Kendall Turner, of Bedford, N.H., sued Dr. Mitchell Zager and nurse Mary Doran after their son, Dustin, 5, was born on July 11, 2001, with severe neurological damage.
Dustin has cerebral palsy his parents believe was caused by his oxygen-deprived delivery. He is unable to walk, talk, eat or sit up on his own, and requires around-the-clock care.
“I knew it first because I saw him come out. He was blue and just, like, lifeless in the doctor’s hands. He didn’t take his first breath for 32 minutes,” Kendall Turner told the Boston Herald.
The family’s attorney, Andrew Meyer, said Zager and Doran did not respond to “numerous signs” that the baby was not getting enough oxygen.
“It is crystal clear that Dustin would have been a normal, healthy child had he not remained in the environment where he was deprived of oxygen, which the doctor and nurse failed to respond to,” Meyer said.
Zager’s attorney, Alan Rindler, disputed that and said the cause of Dustin’s brain damage has not been determined.
“We know it’s not a failure on the part of the health care providers to monitor the situation properly, but we also don’t have an answer,” Rindler said. “Unfortunately, the causes of brain damage in infants is still an area that has a lot of uncertainty. There’s a lot of research being done, but simply not enough answers yet.”
An agreement in the case was reached last week with the help of a mediator, Meyer said.
Doran’s attorney, Martin Foster, declined to comment on the settlement.
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