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Girl wins $23.1 million in Cook County medical malpractice case

The judge presiding over a medical malpractice case involving a 5-year-old Cook County, Illinois, girl awarded her and her family $23.1 million on Monday, May 9, 2017. It's believed a significant portion of this amount will be necessary to provide ongoing care for the young girl who suffered significant health problems because of complications during her birth.

In the Circuit Court judge's ruling, she outlined how the evidence presented by both parties in the case showed negligence on behalf of the child's neonatologist. He treated the young girl following her birth at Palos Community Hospital on June 21, 2011.

Her belief is that the child would have not ultimately been left with permanent health problems including epilepsy and cerebral palsy had it not been for the lack of proper care taken by the physician. It was during the child's birth that she suffered significant blood loss, yet she didn't receive a necessary, full transfusion until more than three hours later. The girl's attorneys argued her brain damage resulted from precisely this.

At trial, the girl's attorney highlighted how the hospital had been unable to track down the neonatologist by phone to report to the hospital. For the first time in 41 years of practicing medicine, he had inadvertently left both his pager and cellphone at the hospital after finishing his previous shift in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The hospital ultimately reached the doctor at home. He reported 20 minutes later, but it was too late.

During the trial, the doctor's defense attorney argued that the doctor's role was not to care for the mother, but instead the baby once it was born. Medical records showed that the victim in this case had suffered a ruptured fetal vessel in utero.

By the time she was born, the girl had not only lost 60 percent of her blood, but born lifeless. She went for 21 minutes without a heartbeat. The doctor's attorney suggested that this was representative of the fact that there was no causal relationship between the doctor's actions and her brain damage.

If you suspect that your child has suffered permanent impairment or disability as a result of doctor error or negligence at the time of birth, then a Chicago medical malpractice attorney can provide guidance in your case.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Malpractice verdict: $23.1 million for family of Tinley Park girl who suffered brain damage at birth," Mike Nolan, May 12, 2017

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