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Willmar jury awards family $23.2M in dispute with doctor

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A Kandiyohi County jury has awarded more than $23 million to a Paynesville family whose daughter is severely disabled from complications during her birth. 

A jury found that Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Medical Community Center were negligent in the care and treatment of Elise Rodgers and her baby, Kylie. 

In June of 2007, Elise Rodgers went into labor at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Her lawyer Julie Matonich says the fetal monitor indicated warning signs that Rodger's baby was not getting enough oxygen and that her umbilical cord was compromised. 

Matonich says the doctor, Gabrielle Vencel Olson, waited too long to do a Cesarean section and the baby suffered severe brain damage. 

"The costs of Kylie's care are absolutely astronomical," Matonich said. "She requires almost constant suctioning of her airway in order to survive, so there are times when she has to be suctioned every three to five minutes just to survive." 

The award includes $1.7 for past healthcare expenses, $10 million for future expenses, $9 million for future pain, disability and emotional distress, $1 million for related pain and emotional distress, and $1.5 million for future lost earnings. 

Officials with Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Medical Community Center were not available for comment.