People often see our large settlements and verdicts in medical malpractice cases, especially in birth injury cases, and ask (or wonder) why the amounts are so high. The last two birth injury cases we handled each involved eight-figure settlements. I tell them, number one, any one of our clients that we have gotten large sums of money for (whether a personal injury case or a medical malpractice case), would gladly give back every cent in exchange for good health. Number two, I’ll give them a sample of what a child goes through and will go through if he or she is a victim of medical malpractice. Below is an example of a birth injury case we handled and why we were able to secure such a large settlement.
This case involves a child who, because of medical negligence, suffered significant brain damage from lack of oxygen during and right after the birthing process. Instead of going home with his parents a day or two after the birth, this child spent the next six weeks in the hospital’s NICU – neonatal intensive care unit. This stay included, among other things, a neonatal cooling protocol – where the baby is placed on a water-filled cooling blanket to lower his temperature for days at a time. By maintaining a reduced temperature for three days, the baby’s metabolic processes slow. This is designed to decrease the severity of the brain injury from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy – a type of brain damage that occurs when an infant’s brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen and blood. While in the NICU, he had seizures; he could not eat properly and had a G-tube placed. A G-tube is a surgically placed device used to give direct access to your child’s stomach for nutrition and medication.
Our client was treated within the State of Illinois Early Intervention Program up through and including age 3. After that, he came under the care of the Illinois Department of Specialized Care for Children. Since our client had very low muscle tone throughout, with spasticity in his arms and legs, he is unable to walk. He is unable to eat and is still fed through a G-tube; he is unable to control his bowel and bladder. He still has seizures that are controlled by medication. He requires 24-hour care and will forever. As in many of our medical malpractice cases involving a birth injury, we hired a Life Care Planner. We tasked him with the job of figuring out how much money it will cost to provide the injured baby with the necessary medical care, the best chance at a safe life. Lifecare plans often are many millions of dollars, as it was in our case.
Our client will never be employed, will never live independently, and never go about the activities of daily living as a healthy person would. The odds of him living a full life span are slim.
So, when someone says, “that’s a lot of money that you got in that birth injury case,” I say, “that’s a lot of loss.” If you suspect that your child was injured because of medical negligence, please call our Chicago Birth Injury Attorneys at 312-957-4166 and we’d be glad to discuss your situation.