When placed at the mercy of hospitals and medical professionals, new mothers in the Cincinnati area worry about every possible worst-case scenario when they are about to give birth. For some, those worries are simply nervous fears that never become reality, but sometimes those worries are tragically warranted. The family of an Illinois girl with cerebral palsy has just settled a $7.5 million lawsuit over medical malpractice claims related to a delivery gone wrong.
The girl was born in 2002 at a Chicago area hospital. The lawsuit was filed in March 2009 by the girl’s grandparents, who are now her legal guardians and have had full custody of her for about five years. The claim alleges that the girl became permanently disabled as a result of medical malpractice during her birth.
The grandparents say the medical staff “delayed in responding to signs of fetal distress” before birth. As a result, the girl was deprived of oxygen for some time, according to the family’s lawyer. Shortly after her first birthday, the wheelchair-bound girl was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has severe physical limitations requiring daily assistance.
The hospital has now settled the case out of court by agreeing to pay $7.5 million, and a judge is expected to approve the settlement. The grandparents will use the settlement funds to improve her quality of life and to also ensure that she will be taken care of when they are gone. They told reporters they will be getting the girl a motorized wheelchair that she will be able to control through head movements, and that they plan to widen the doorways in their home to accommodate the new chair.
All across the United States, families seeking accountability for negligent behavior rightfully initiate these types of lawsuits. In settling this case, the hospital did not acknowledge any wrongdoing, although this is the second multi-million dollar lawsuit the hospital has settled this year. In a previous lawsuit, the hospital agreed to a $4.5 million settlement to a woman that suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of hospital negligence that left her a quadriplegic.
Source: Southtown Star, “Advocate agrees to $7.5M malpractice award,” Mike Nolan, Dec. 2, 2011