Two families in Illinois recently won big legal victories against physicians, nurses, and medical centers over their children’s birth injuries. One family settled with a doctor and hospital for $35 million while another received a $40 million jury award. Both cases centered on deliveries by Cesarean section.
Family Settles Cerebral Palsy Case for $35 Million in Evanston
The unnamed plaintiffs settled with Evanston’s NorthShore University Health System and obstetrician Dr. Fabio Ortega. Their daughter and her twin were born prematurely at NorthShore in 2015 under the care of Dr. Ortega. Now seven years old, the younger twin has severe cerebral palsy and needs lifelong care.
The family and their lawyers argued that Dr. Ortega was negligent in the C-section delivery that caused irreversible injuries to the little girl. He told the parents he would be at the hospital after they were admitted. Instead, he left them in the care of a third-year resident while he went to a clinic to take care of other patients for most of the day.
While he was away, another doctor recommended a C-section. Dr. Ortega returned late, and then, according to the family’s lawyers, botched the procedure. They alleged that he did not make a proper surgical incision, that he did not deliver the younger twin in a timely manner, and that he tugged and pulled on her inappropriately during the delivery.
Dr. Ortega was later removed from patient care over allegations of sexual assault. He eventually pleaded guilty and spent time in jail. The family in this case was able to secure the large settlement that will help them provide ongoing care for their little girl.
Jury Awards $40 Million in Coles County
In another case recently resolved, a family won the largest medical malpractice amount ever awarded by a jury in central Illinois. The Campbell family sued on behalf of their daughter Kiera, who suffers lifelong disabilities related to birth injuries.
Jane Campbell gave birth to Kiera at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in 2003 after experiencing cramping and bleeding. When she was admitted, it was determined that she had suffered a placental abruption, a serious complication.
Nurses and other staff delayed calling in a physician to perform a C-section. As a result, Kiera suffered damage that resulted in mild cerebral palsy, developmental delays, speech delays, and a seizure disorder.
The case took 15 years to resolve, but ultimately the jury only needed three hours to award the Campbells $40 million. The award included $5 million for past disability, $20 million for future disability, $1.25 million for emotional distress, $5 million for future caretaking, and $4 million for lost earning capacity.
The large award came after an offer of $3 million to settle the case. The Campbells decided to continue to trial, requesting $35 to $37 million.
These two cases highlight the ongoing need to hold medical professionals and hospitals accountable for their negligent actions. These two families received justice and helped prevent tragedies from occurring to families in the future.