Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

$53 Million Verdict in Birth Injury Case

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Jul 05, 2016 | 0 Comments

A jury in Chicago has awarded a 12-year-old boy and his family $53 million in a medical malpractice case against the University of Chicago hospital. If it holds up, it will be one of the largest ever verdicts for a birth injury lawsuit. However, the hospital has filed a motion to have the case ruled a mistrial.

According to the plaintiffs, the doctors and nurses made multiple mistakes when attending to Lisa Ewing during the birth of her son, Isaiah. They alleged doctors and hospital staff failed to carefully monitor the mother and baby, failed to timely perform a cesarean section, failed to follow the chain of command, did not obtain accurate cord blood gasses, and failed to notice abnormal fetal heart rate patterns that indicated distress in the baby.

Isaiah, who was born in 2004, now has severe cerebral palsy, is wheelchair bound, and relies on his mother to feed, clothe, and take care of him. Part of the award allocated $28.8 million for future caretaking expenses. “It's a blessing to know that when I'm no longer here, he will be cared for,” said Ewing.

One of the reasons for such a large verdict may have been due to the hospital's response to the child's injuries. According to the family's attorney, they never explained to the mother what had happened before and during her child's birth. The attorney added, “The University of Chicago has been, for the last 12 years, completely unapologetic, and even though the evidence was overwhelming that they caused Isaiah's brain damage, they refused to accept responsibility.”

The hospital disputed that the injuries were associated with hypoxia, claiming that the injuries were due to infection, and occurred well before the birth of the child. According to Lorna Wong, a spokesperson for the hospital, “Isaiah was born with normal oxygen levels.” Instead, the hospital claims that the child and his mother were treated for infection, which can cause cerebral palsy.

The family's attorney claimed, “all of the medical records at the University of Chicago neonatal clinic showed that Isaiah had been suffocated at birth, that he had suffered hypoxia, lack of oxygen, yet the University of Chicago and its lawyers came to court and tried to tell the jury that their own records were false.”

The hospital filed for a mistrial before the case went to the jury. They alleged the family's attorney made improper prejudicial comments, which made it impossible for the defendants to get a fair trial. The hospital claimed the lawyer also, “proceeded to equate defendant's conduct and testimony of its witness with the propaganda techniques notoriously and unmistakably associated with Nazi Germany.”

If you have a child who was injured at birth due to a medical error, the Gilman & Bedigian team is here to help. We are fully equipped to handle the complex process of your medical malpractice claim. Our staff, including a physician and attorneys with decades of litigation experience, will focus on getting you compensation, so you can focus on healing and moving forward.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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