Family wins $53 million medical malpractice suit

A 12-year-old boy and his mother received a jury award of $53 million in a medical malpractice suit against the University of Chicago Medical Center. The lawsuit was filed in 2013. It alleged medical malpractice issues relating to the boy's birth, which led to him suffering a brain injury.

The malpractice lawsuit includes an award of $28.8 million to the boy and his mother to cover future care taking costs, to cover expenses stemming from the boy's cerebral palsy. The boy -- who is currently in a wheelchair -- requires assistance while he is fed and clothed.

This jury verdict represents the largest birth injury decision that the area has ever seen. It outlined approximately 20 missteps committed by nurses and doctors, after the mother came to the hospital when she was approximately 40 weeks pregnant. The woman reported that her baby was not moving as much as he had been.

The lawsuit claims that the hospital was negligent in failing to perform a caesarian section, failing to follow a suitable chain of command, failing to accurately test cord blood gases, and failing to monitor abnormal heart rate patters.

Prior to the case going to trial, the hospital tried to get it ruled a mistrial. In a news conference, the counsel for the family claimed that the the university was completely unapologetic in the face of overwhelming evidence that it was to blame for the boy's brain damage. During heated closing arguments, the attorney compared the hospital's actions to those committed by Nazi Germany.

Although massive medical malpractice verdicts like this one are rare, they are not impossible. In the state of Washington, if a family is suffering and a baby is permanently injured due to the clear failures of medical practitioners, then the family may have a viable claim for justice and restitution in civil court.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Jury hits U. of C. hospital with $53 million malpractice verdict," Becky Yerak, June 30, 2016

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