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Parents awarded $14 million in ‘wrongful birth’ case against Ft. Madison hospital

Fort Madison, IA (WGEM) — A Lee County, Iowa, jury has awarded over $14 million in a lawsuit against Fort Madison Community Hospital.

Court records stated that the jury entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, Pamela and Jeremy Plowman, on Tuesday.

The judgment states that “The present value of reasonable and necessary extraordinary medical expenses and services, custodial care and attendant care services, and equipment and adaptive housing for Z.P. which will be incurred in the future: $11,647,649.00.”

It states that Pamela Plowman was awarded an additional $285,000 for emotional distress from the date of injury to the present and another $1,346,938 for future emotional distress.

Jeremy Plowman was awarded an additional $215,000 for emotional distress from the date of injury to the present and another $1,010,203 future emotional distress, according to the judgment.

In total, $14,504,790 was awarded to the plaintiffs.

The judgment states that “The total judgment amount is entered 65 percent against Fort Madison Community Hospital and Leah Steffensmeier, M.D.; and 35 percent against Pil Kang, M.D. and Davis Radiology, P.C.”

The Associated Press reported in 2017 that the Iowa Supreme Court says that the parents of a severely disabled child can sue medical providers for failing to warn of fetal abnormalities that would have caused the mother to have an abortion.

According to the AP, the mother was assured after an ultrasound during her 22nd week of pregnancy by her doctor that everything was fine with the fetus. They claimed that a radiologist had found that the fetus displayed “head abnormalities” and recommended follow-up. They claimed that another radiologist said that the head was only slightly smaller than normal.

The AP reported that the parents claimed that they were never informed of the problems, which would have led the mother to terminate the pregnancy.

The AP reported that the lawsuit was filed in 2013 seeking damages for past and future medical care, mental anguish and the loss of income after the mother had to quit her job to care for the child.

Zachary Voss

Zachary Voss is the Assignment Editor at WGEM.

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