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Jury awards $23.2 million in malpractice case against Willmar, Minn., clinic, hospital

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A Kandiyohi County jury has awarded $23.2 million to a Paynesville, Minn., family whose daughter is severely handicapped due to complications during her birth in June 2007 at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

The verdict was returned Tuesday evening in Kandiyohi County District Court and found Dr. Gabrielle Vencel Olson, a family practice physician for Affiliated Community Medical Center, and Rice Memorial Hospital negligent in the June 6, 2007, birth of Kylie Rodgers, daughter of Elise Rodgers and Matthew Larson.

The girl has multiple health problems including spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, cortical impairment, neurological difficulties, and seizures, according to court files and her Web site at

The jury attributed 80 percent of the negligence to ACMC and 20 percent to the hospital.

The jury award includes $1.7 million for past healthcare expenses; $10 million for future healthcare expenses; $10 million for past and future pain, disability and emotional distress; and $1.5 million for loss of earning capacity.

Linda Vanderwerf is a reporter at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minn., which is owned by Forum Communications Co.