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A Jefferson County awarded a family $16,000,000.00 in a medical malpractice claim against Brookwood Women’s Medical Center*.  The case centered around Brookwood Hospital’s ads for Natural Childbirth.  We couldn’t find the ads, but it’s obvious that Brookwood was using its physicians to promote the natural Childbirth:

UPDATE (8/10/16): The videos have been removed from YouTube since this post was made. Hmmmm…

These were two physicians on two different news stations, ABC 33/40 and Fox 6, discussing natural childbirth and water birthing.

The Plaintiffs in the case above, saw the ads, and although she had had three previous pregnancies at St. Vincent’s Hospital, she decided to explore the natural childbirth possibility.  As a result, she went through the process and ended up with Pudendal Neuralgia, a chronic and disabling form of pelvic pain.

The question becomes, would she have ever been interested in natural childbirth had she not seen these ads?

This question proposes another significant question regarding medicine and pharmaceutical drugs, should such services and products be advertised?  Should we have all of these commercials for Viagra, Cialis, Lunesta, etc.? Should prospective patients be asking for certain medications/procedures, or should the doctors make the recommendations to the patients?

In our ever increasing competitive markets, especially in healthcare, medical providers want, and need, to make more money, but are we sacrificing patient care for dollars?  This jury seemed to answer with a resounding yes.

My father always said, “Don’t ever worry about what money can replace.”  Well, in this case, none of the money will make the discomfort and pain go away.  But, maybe it will be a little sign to various healthcare providers that they need to think twice before advertising services in the interest of more money.  We can thank the law firm of Marsh, Rickard &  Bryan, P.C. for shedding further light on this issue, and our firm at Lewis, Feldman & Lehane, LLC will continue to try to do the same.

Note: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the verdict was also against Brookwood’s parent company.

4 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Susan Silvernail
    Susan Silvernail

    Jon - Thanks for spreading the word about this pro-consumer victory. One correction though. Judge dismissed parent company (Tenet Healthcare), so verdict was against Brookwood Medical Center only.

  2. Gravatar for Jon Lewis

    Sorry Susan. This went to Junk. I will make that change. It's wonderful to know that some of these hospitals/companies can still be held accountable.

  3. Gravatar for jc

    Yeh, what about plaintiff lawyers advertising on TV about how they will take and win your medical malpractice case. Never once have I heard them offer a disclaimer and say that they lose 80-90% of the time!

  4. Gravatar for Jon Lewis

    Thank you for your comment JC. I'm not sure I understand your point. It's probably more like 90-95% of the time. Most attorneys who advertise do so for car wrecks, not medical malpractice. Most of the attorneys who advertise, if not almost all, don't handle malpractice cases, at least in Birmingham.

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