Banner Health ordered to pay $31.5 million in malpractice lawsuit for brain-damaged boy

It’s the largest medical malpractice award in Arizona history
A jury ordered Banner Health to pay a Chandler mother $31.5 million in a malpractice lawsuit after they found negligence led to her son being brain damaged.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 8:57 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A Maricopa County jury found on Friday the actions of Banner Health and one of its doctors led to severe brain damage to a boy during delivery, resulting in a massive cash award.

Krystle Griepentrog, from Chandler, was awarded roughly $31.5 million in the lawsuit. It’s the largest medical malpractice award in state history, according to the lawyers at Dordick Law Corporation. Banner denied responsibility and refused to settle in the case, Glenda Gonzalez with Dordick Law said. “I was very excited and I’m very pleased with what happened today,” Griepentrog said. “I was overcome with joy and relief and a lot of emotions.”

The jury found Banner Health and Dr. Laurie P. Erickson were negligent during Krystle Griepentrog’s delivery of her son Greyson, causing him to not get enough oxygen. Krystle’s attorney, Chris Bulone, said Banner Health had 33 different warning signs that Greyson was oxygen-deprived. “They knew, and they admitted in trial that the drug their doctors were giving would cause contractions, make the contractions longer and stronger and deprive the baby of oxygen. But they weren’t paying attention,” Bulone told Arizona’s Family. Because of that, Greyson developed cerebral palsy, Krystle’s legal team said. He’s 9 years old now and can’t get dressed or walk by himself.

The lawsuit was filed in April 2020, and the trial started on Oct. 23, 2023. According to the lawsuit, Banner Health claimed fetal heart monitoring medical records were simply “lost” during a data migration, so Griepentrog couldn’t prove her case. However, one expert said that couldn’t be true because of all the checks and balances and different policies in place to make sure all records are kept. Banner Health is required by law to keep all medical records.

The jury found Banner Health was 57% responsible, and Dr. Erikson was 43% responsible. Bulone said Friday’s verdict is validation that Banner Health is responsible for what happened. “It’s the largest malpractice verdict in Arizona and Greyson deserves every penny,” he said.

In a statement to Arizona’s Family, Banner Health said that it “respectfully disagrees with the jury’s decision. “We are reviewing our options at this time, including an appeal,” the statement said.

Krystle Griepentrog hopes the money can help with any challenges that come with living with cerebral palsy. “A robotic walking device, to accessible vehicle, to caregivers that are trained. The list goes on and on,” she said. Krystle Griepentrog added that when Greyson is older, she’ll tell him more of the details about why she went to court. But she does plan on telling him about the verdict right now.

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