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Cross Country Healthcare settles birth injury lawsuit ahead of $31 million jury award

May 17, 2019

Cross Country Healthcare Inc. (Nasdaq: CCRN) settled a medical malpractice lawsuit claiming that one of its nurses failed to properly monitor a baby during his 2013 delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based healthcare staffing provider reached the settlement on May 15. The Boston Globe reported a Suffolk County jury awarded the family $30.6 million the same day, finding Cross Country, which had supplied the nurse responsible for monitoring the baby’s heart rate, negligent in the care and treatment of both the baby, Aiden Boulter, and his mother, Kim Boulter.

The company reached the confidential settlement with the family just before the verdict, sparing it from having to pay the full $30.6 million.

“Through a settlement agreement with plaintiffs, the company was able to mitigate its exposure to a substantial jury award,” Cross Country’s filing stated. The settlement is confidential, but the company expects its total financial exposure in this case to be approximately $1 million, with the balance of the settlement to be funded by its insurers.

The Boulters’ attorney, Benjamin Zimmerman, told the Globe that the family will still receive a ‘significant’ sum because the size of the confidential settlement was tied to the size of the jury award. Zimmerman said $30.6 million is among the largest awards in a medical malpractice case in Massachusetts in recent years.

Zimmerman contended the nurse used a hand-held device to monitor the baby’s heart rate, instead of the required continuous fetal heart-rate monitor, and believes the nurse was actually measuring the mother’s heart rate. The family’s attorney told the Globe that the baby was not breathing and had almost no heartbeat when born, and was left with severe brain injuries, the result of the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck in the birth canal.

“The nurse, with more than 30 years of labor and delivery experience, was one member of a care team supporting the midwife and attending obstetrician at one of the nation’s preeminent hospitals,” the Cross Country filing stated. “Nevertheless, a rare and unfortunate outcome resulted. The company’s heartfelt prayers go out to the affected family.”

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