Simpson, an Infant v. Roberts
August 5, 2020
A minor plaintiff, through her parent, brought a medical malpractice suit against a doctor who performed an amniocentesis on her while she was still in utero. The plaintiff contended that the Virginia Medical Malpractice Act did not apply to her case as she was not a “patient” of the doctor at the time of the injury. Specifically, Plaintiff argued that, at the time Dr. Roberts injured her, she was a fetus and therefore did not meet the definition of a “patient” because she was not yet a “natural person.” Accordingly, the plaintiff argued that the statutory cap on damages also did not apply to the $7 million jury award in her case. The Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed the order reducing the plaintiff’s award to $1.4 million, finding a clear intent by the legislature to have the statutory cap apply in any verdict returned against a health care provider in an action for malpractice.