It is certainly tragic when any Illinois patient is forced to suffer the consequences of a doctor’s mistake or a hospital’s negligence. After all, one mistake could forever change the life of a patient if the individual suffers brain damage, paralysis or other debilitating injuries.
However, it is especially devastating when a child becomes a victim of medical malpractice. A birth injury could deprive a child from ever being able to live a normal life, or a misdiagnosis could lead to life-long health complications. Additionally, parents must endure the emotional pain of seeing their child suffer, and they may even need to make major adjustments in their own lives to ensure that their child receives the medical care and attention he or she may need.
In August 2008, doctors delayed the birth of one woman’s child because an ultrasound showed that the child had no heartbeat. However, a second ultrasound later showed that the woman’s unborn baby still had a pulse and an emergency cesarean section was performed in an attempt to save the woman’s baby.
The woman initially sought medical treatment at a hospital in Pennsylvania because she had been experiencing complications during her pregnancy. When an ultrasound revealed that the unborn baby had no heartbeat, doctors assumed the child was dead and did not attempt to rush the delivery of the baby. But when another medical professional at the hospital performed a second ultrasound, a heartbeat was detected.
Doctors were able to save the woman’s son, but because the cesarean section had been delayed for more than an hour after the woman sought medical attention, the child had been severely deprived of oxygen. The woman’s 3-year-old son now suffers from cerebral palsy, a debilitating condition that will affect her child for the rest of his life.
Last week, a jury awarded the woman nearly $80 million to help cover her child’s future medical expenses and lost earnings. The award also covers emotional damages. After reviewing the case, the jury concluded that the medical center did not have proper diagnostic procedures in place for performing accurate ultrasounds. Had the hospital had adequate procedures in place, the baby’s heartbeat would have been detected during the first ultrasound, prompting staff to immediately perform a cesarean section.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Phila. Jury awards $78.5M in medical malpractice case,” Chris Mondics, May 6, 2012