LOUISVILLE — A Jefferson Circuit Court jury has awarded nearly $1.4 million to a woman who watched as her stillborn baby was decapitated during birth.
The jury found two doctors liable, but not the hospital or the nurses involved in the case. The jury declined to award punitive damages.
The amount was much less than the $18 million that the mother, Micheatria Donelson, had sought for the 2006 case. But one of her attorneys said the verdict was a "vindication" for Donelson, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
"This is a clear victory for Micheatria," said attorney Mark Mathys. "This is a significant amount of money that will help her for the rest of her life."
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Attorneys for Norton Hospital said they were pleased with the decision but declined to comment further.
Terry Lee, a nurse in labor and delivery at Norton who sat with the hospital's attorneys through the trial and had sutured the baby's head back on, told The Courier-Journal that jurors did well in "a very complicated" and emotional case.
"I felt like we did the best we could," she said of the nursing staff during the Feb. 24, 2006 delivery. "It was a very difficult situation, and I feel for Ms. Donelson too. It was a very difficult case for everybody."
Dr. Joseph Bilotta and his partner, Dr. William Koontz, were not in court for the verdict, and their attorneys did not comment afterward.
The jury, which was not unanimous, found Koontz 57 percent responsible for the $1,362,499 in damages and Bilotta 43 percent responsible.
The jurors, six men and six women, declined to comment.