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$12.25 Million Final Settlement in Obstetric Negligence Case

03.10.1998

To avoid an appeal of a jury verdict rendered in late September, Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village has agreed to pay $12 million in cash to Samantha Bellino, 8, of Geneva. Samantha suffered brain damage at birth on Jan. 14, 1990. A Cook County jury determined last September that Samantha's injuries were due to the negligence of both the hospital and Dr. R.S. Raju, obstetrician for Madlyn Bellino, Samantha's mother.

Corboy & Demetrio represented the child in the medical negligence case against Alexian Brothers Medical Center and Dr. Raju. "Our purpose of the lawsuit was to compensate Samantha for her injuries and to guarantee her financial future," the firm stated. "Her family sought the security of a settlement to provide for Samantha's care and to assure her of the opportunity to reach her full potential. This settlement achieves these goals."

At the time of Samantha's birth at Alexian Brothers Medical Center on Jan. 14, 1990, Mrs. Bellino had a history of a prior "classical Cesarian section," a medical condition that placed her at high risk for uterine rupture, the firm said. Dr. Raju had scheduled a repeat C-section for Jan. 16, 1990.

But two days before that scheduled procedure, on the morning of Jan. 14, Mrs. Bellino went to the hospital complaining of burning abdominal pain. A monitor showed she was experiencing uterine contractions. "When she arrived at the hospital, the mother was at term, at high risk for a uterine rupture, and with pain caused by the initial stage of a rupture," the firm stated. "The only known and accepted medical management was delivery."

Instead, Dr. Raju entered an order to continue observation and the nurse at the hospital followed that order. The nurse admitted during testimony at trial that she did not challenge the doctor's order even though she knew a repeat C-section was the only way to prevent a uterine rupture. At the time of admission, a full medical team, including an obstetrician employed by the hospital, was available to do a C-section, the firm indicated.

During the next hour, as her complaints of abdominal pain continued, Mrs. Bellino was neither seen nor examined by a physician, the firm said. Finally, at approximately 9 a.m., the rupture occurred; the nurse and doctor then proceeded with an emergency C-section delivery.

The firm stated: "At the operation, the defendant obstetrician found the uterus ruptured and the child was found under the rib cage, covered in her mother's blood." The placenta, which is known to supply oxygen to the child, had pulled free from the uterine wall.

As a result, Samantha required intubation after birth and suffered seizures. She has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and walks with canes. Her speech is severely affected and her fine motor control is poor. She also faces academic struggles.

Dr. Raju also agreed to pay his full insurance policy of $250,000. The total settlement for Samantha, reached Monday, is $12.25 million.

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