Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated who employs Dr. Kurt Haupt. He is a partner in a San Luis Obispo gynecology practice, and is not an employee of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.
A San Luis Obispo family has sued a local doctor, accusing him of malpractice over his delivery of their baby, and they seek $15 million to $20 million in damages.
But Dr. Kurt Haupt has denied any wrongdoing, saying that his care was standard and that he handled the prenatal and labor treatment appropriately.
Sofia Blunt, whos now nearly 3 years old, was born April 19, 2009, at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. She suffered severe brain damage at birth and now has cerebral palsy.
Her condition requires significant attention and medical care, which will cost an estimated $35 million to $50 million throughout her lifetime.
Sofias parents, Jennifer and Andrew Blunt, have sued Dr. Haupt on their daughters behalf. The case has been in a jury trial for more than two weeks.
The Blunts case is being handled by a medical malpractice plaintiff lawyer, Nicholas Rowley, who is with the law firm Carpenter, Zuckerman and Rowley. He said he has represented clients in similar claims nationwide.
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center has already reached a settlement in the case, though the dollar figure awarded to the family wasnt disclosed as part of the agreement.
All parties are precluded by the terms of the settlement from revealing an amount, said Ron Yukelson, Sierra Vistas spokesman. Sierra Vista is pleased that it was able to reach a settlement that is mutually satisfactory to both parties.
In court documents, the Blunts attorneys have alleged that Haupt should have expedited the birth after being called into the delivery room at 5:28 a.m. on April 19, 2009.
The babys heart rate dropped significantly several minutes before her birth at 6:38 a.m., according to court records.
Dr. Haupt didnt do anything significantly different to expedite the delivery of the baby, the plaintiffs attorneys state in the court documents. Dr. Haupt did not employ a vacuum or forceps to expedite delivery nor did he discuss such procedures with Mr. Blunt.
Haupt had expected the baby to be delivered at 6:13 a.m. but didnt make any incision in the vaginal opening that could have hastened the birth.
But Haupt, who is seeking a full dismissal of responsibility in the case, said in a deposition prior to the trial that he didnt think it was necessary to expedite the birth.
In this instance, (an incision) didnt appear to be necessary, nor was it necessary to speed the delivery, Haupt said. If I thought it was indicated or necessary, I would have notified that it was necessary, and then we would have discussed whether they wished to do it or not.
According to the expert opinion of Dr. Connie L. Agnew, who testified on behalf of Haupt, his care was standard, court documents show.
Sofia Blunt had to be resuscitated after she was born, and Haupt handled those procedures appropriately as well, according to his attorneys.
The trial is expected to continue for a couple more weeks before Judge Charles S. Crandall.