When Yong Juan Zhao gave birth to her son “S.,” the baby suffered an avoidable brachial plexus injury, which severely and permanently impaired the function of his right arm. During her pregnancy and S.’s birth, Zhao was attended by an obstetrician employed by a federally supported grant clinic in southern Illinois; the doctor was considered an employee of the U.S. Public Health Service under 42 U.S.C. 233(g).
Zhao sued for medical malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The court found that the obstetrician had been negligent and signed a judgment awarding Zhao, on behalf of S., $2.6 million in lost earnings and $5.5 million in noneconomic damages.
S. was 5 years old at the time of the trial.