$11.7 Million Verdict for 13-Year-Old Boy
A Cook County jury returned a verdict against the University of Chicago Hospital and neonatologist, Dr. William Meadow, in favor of a 13-year-old boy who suffered brain damage at birth, in the sum of $11.7 million late yesterday after a two week trial before Circuit Court of Cook County Judge James Flannery.
Kenneth Lumb of the law firm of Corboy & Demetrio represented the plaintiff.
Lumb said, "The jury felt that after determining that the boy's mother, was in need of an emergency C-Section due to fetal distress, the University of Chicago Hospital was negligent for failing to have an operating room immediately available." The mother had to wait from 4:25 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. to be taken to an available operating room for the performance of this emergency C-Section." Lumb said the evidence established that the 25 minute wait for an operating room violated established guidelines which governed hospitals in our community. The boy was born October 31, 1988 and presently suffers from brain damage resulting in cognitive deficits to the extent that he functions on the level of only a 3 to 4 year old. Lumb said the evidence established that a timely C-Section would have resulted in the boy having no cognitive deficits.
On October 31, 1988, the mother arrived at the University of Chicago Hospital after informing the hospital on five occasions by telephone of having passed brownish-yellowish fluid in her urine. At 3:20 p.m. the nurses noticed meconium stained amniotic fluid and the mother was admitted to labor and delivery at 3:50 p.m., at which time a fetal monitor was applied.
At 4:05, Dr. Rosner performed a vaginal exam and found thick meconium, indicating fetal distress. Dr. Rosner advised the senior resident, Dr. Ryan, at approximately 4:18 to 4:22. At approximately 4:18 to 4:22 p.m. Dr. Rosner advised Dr. Lin (senior attending) of "non-reassuring" fetal monitoring and Doctors Lin and Rosner examined the strip and the patient. Dr. Rosner informed Dr. Austin (junior attending) of these non-reassuring findings and Dr. Austin examined the strip and the patient at 4:25 p.m. for a couple of minutes, and ordered an emergency C-Section.
However, the patient was not taken immediately for the emergency C-Section due to the fact that no operating rooms were available. The mother was finally taken to an operating room at 5:00 to 5:10 p.m., and the baby was finally delivered at 5:20 p.m.
The baby boy also suffered an ischemic injury to his left buttock when a catheter was improperly applied by Dr. William Meadow, the attending neonatologist. Attorneys for the client indicated that a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit noted a discoloration of the left buttock but failed to notify the attending physician for 13 hours. This caused severe scarring to his left buttock.
The boy is cared for by his mother at home, along with his younger, healthy brother. the boy attends Burnside Academy in its Special Education program.