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Family Sues Over Brain-Damaged Son

Feb 26, 2002 |

A Boca Raton family is suing doctors for negligence after one twin boy was born normal and the other suffered permanent brain damage.

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Eyewitness News 25 reports that the family hopes their son's case will draw statewide attention to rules that prevent people from getting what they call fair compensation for medical malpractice.

The emptiness in 19-month-old Adam Susser's eyes warned his parents that he wasn't much like his fraternal twin, Brandon.

While Adam (pictured, above) can hear, and laugh at his dad like a normal child, there is a lot that he cannot do on his own.

"Adam is significantly brain injured," Adam's father, Gary, said. "Adam can't hold his head up. He can't crawl or talk. He's blind."

Susser said that it's unlikely Adam will ever be anything close to a normal person, because his brain did not receive enough oxygen during his mother's labor.

"This should never happen to anybody," mother Judy Susser said. "That's what I want to bring across. And I want those responsible, who harmed our son, held accountable, (they) must account for their actions or inactions."

The Sussers said there were signs of serious trouble four days before Judy gave birth to the twin boys.

Doctors said Adam's heart rate weakened to the point where a fetal heart monitor could not detect a pulse.

Gary Cohen, the Susser's attorney, said two high-risk pregnancy doctors at Coral Springs Medical Center discussed delivering the babies via a C-section, but refused to perform it.

"And by delaying as long as he did, (the physician) got a vaginal birth, but he got a vaginal birth of a severely asphyxiated infant," Cohen said.

When the Susser's decided to sue, they found out their hospital is part of the North Broward Hospital District, which means that the medical center's liability for malpractice is capped at $100,000, and the two doctors' liability is capped at $250,000 each. The most the Sussers could collect is $600,000, unless they get lawmakers to change the rules.

"All we're asking for this family is fairness and to have their rights not be abridged by legislators and governors who restrict the care this child will need," Cohen said.

As part of their lawsuit, the Sussers and their attorney will go to Florida's legislature to push for a new bill.

The bill would force the hospital district and its doctors to have insurance. At the same time, it would restrict insurance companies from raising malpractice rates.

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