An Illinois jury awarded $50 million to a Michigan family for a permanent brain injury their son suffered during birth.
Aimee Florez went NorthShore University HealthSystem to deliver her son in March 2009. She gave birth to a boy, who she named Julien. Baby Julien came out blue, with a low heart rate and was having difficulty breathing. The staff began chest compressions and worked to get oxygen to his brain and organs.
The lack of oxygen caused injury
However, their efforts proved too little, too late. Julien’s oxygen deprivation caused a permanent brain injury that is known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). His HIE lead to the development of cerebral palsy. Julien’s injuries have limited his vocabulary, decreased his motor skills, affected his mobility and caused bilateral hearing loss.
Suit alleged mistakes in treatment
Aimee and her husband David filed a lawsuit against the hospital, doctor and nurse that delivered Julien. According to the Chicago Tribune, the suit alleged that the staff should have performed a C-section on Aimee earlier, to prevent Julien’s heart rate from dropping to dangerous levels. The use of Pitocin, a drug that strengthens contractions, was also questioned. The suit alleged the drug caused more stress on baby Julien and worsened his condition.
The jury agreed with the Florez family found the hospital, doctor and nurse guilty of negligence.
Julien now attends a school for children with cognitive disabilities. He receives speech therapy, language therapy and physical therapy. He will likely need lifelong care.
Medical malpractice violates the standard of care
To prove medical malpractice, a suit must show a medical professional was negligent in providing the accepted standard of care to the patient. The standard of care is the generally accepted treatment for an illness or injury. After it is shown the standard of care was not given, then a lawsuit must demonstrate an injury, like a birth injury, was caused by this negligence.