A woman who sued after being injured while giving birth has been awarded $11 million by a Bucks County jury, one of the largest verdicts from that county in recent memory.
Plaintiff Stephanie Giberson had requested a Caesarean section due to potential complications with a vaginal delivery. But the baby was delivered vaginally and Giberson sustained tears to her perineal muscles and anal sphincter, according to The Beasley Firm, which represented Giberson.
As a result the 38-year-old woman suffers from urinary and fecal incontinence. The baby was also injured, born with collapsed lungs.
The jury found Dr. Keren Hancock 100% liable for Giberson’s injuries, according to the verdict sheet.
“Despite surgeries, Stephanie Giberson still has issues with incontinence and uncontrollable flatulence,” the plaintiff’s pretrial memorandum said. “She was robbed of her womanhood early, and lost life’s pleasures. She has suffered with humiliation and embarrassment when she has accidents and it has affected her in all areas of her life.”
Heidi Villari of The Villari Firm, who is also of counsel to the Beasley Firm, said the case was difficult on her client.
“It was really hard for our client, Ms. Giberson to testify and sit through the seven days as the topics discussed during the trial were related to her female private parts, her weight, her fecal incontinence,” Villari said.
“As a trial lawyer, one needs to be careful not to scandalize the jurors through these very sensitive topics,” she continued. “I believe my opening statement was carefully done. I let the jury know ahead of time that it took courage for Ms. Giberson to walk into that courtroom to discuss these sensitive topics. We were careful with all of our wording and presentation throughout the trial. We only put up one medical drawing, and then had our experts do the rest through testimony.”
The defendants, which included Hancock, four other doctors, an OBGYN practice and Grand View Hospital, claimed that there was no record of Giberson’s request for a C-section.
“Ultimately, the defendants did not breach the standard of care ‘in the decision to deliver plaintiff vaginally, in their management of her labor, in their recognition and relief of her shoulder dystocia, of the recognition and repair of her third degree laceration, of the choice of suture material, and of her post partum examinations and management,’” the defendants’ pretrial memorandum said.
James Kilcoyne of Kilcoyne & Nesbitt represented the defendants and said, “We will be filing post-trial motions on several grounds.”