Attorney Holly Haines and I filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of Justin and Melinda Ferland in February 2013 in Belknap County. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Constantine Brocoum made an error in reporting that an ultrasound of their child’s fetus was normal when in fact the ultrasound revealed the fetus had a sarococcyegeal teratoma, a tumorous mass growing at the base of the spine. The MRI was performed 20 weeks into the pregnancy and had the parents known about the serious abnormality they would have terminated the pregnancy.
Another MRI administered nine and a half weeks later revealed concerning abnormalities and Melinda Ferland was referred to emergent medical care. At Concord Hospital, she was given another MRI which confirmed the serious abnormalities and Mrs. Ferland was transferred to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
While at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, doctors could not detect a fetal heartbeat and the Ferland baby was given a 10 to 40% chance of surviving her birth. The distraught parents were given three options-do nothing which might compromise the health of the mother or child, delivery and comfort measures for the child only, and delivery with surgical intervention if the child survived the birthing process. The parents chose delivery with surgical intervention. The baby was delivered on November 1, 2010 weighing only 2 pounds, 3 ounces (the tumor weighed 3 pounds, four ounces).
Seven days after birth, the baby underwent a procedure to remove the tumor. Due to these complications, baby Madison will likely never walk or talk during her lifetime. Because she remains cognitively intact, the child is acutely aware of her situation and her suffering. Experts estimate that it will cost more than $7.1 million to care for her over her expected life span of 22 years.
This tragic case is slated for trial by jury in late January 2015.
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