November 20, 2011

A federally-funded health clinic and its doctors in Chicago were held responsible for medical malpractice by a federal judge, and subsequently by an appellate court, for the irreversible brain damage that a baby needlessly suffered as a result of medical negligence.

After the baby was born, he suffered from a common blood infection that should have been promptly diagnosed and was easily treatable with full recovery. But because the doctors at the health clinic failed to diagnose the infection for over 12 hours, the baby suffered permanent brain damage resulting in the baby having spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy that are life-long debilitating conditions. If the blood infection had been diagnosed earlier, the use of antibiotics would have easily prevented the irreversible brain damage, the judge and the appellate court found. The signs and symptoms of the infection were evidently clear and profound, including the baby’s inability to see.

After the federal judge awarded substantial compensatory damages based on the baby’s injuries and the parents’ losses, the U.S. government (the Defendant in the medical malpractice lawsuit, pursuant to federal law) appealed the verdict to the appellate court (the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), arguing that the parents waited too long to file their claim for damages. The parents argued that they were never informed by the clinic or the doctors that their baby’s brain damage was avoidable had the antibiotics been properly and timely administered. It wasn’t until the parents had another child, and that child had a similar infection that was successfully treated with antibiotics, that the parents became suspicious of the care provided to their younger child and the cause of his disabilities.

The appellate court agreed with the parents’ argument and upheld the federal judge’s verdict and judgment in their favor. The money to be paid by the federal government will provide the child, who is now eight years old, with his necessary care expenses for the rest of his life.


One must wonder how different this little boy’s life would have been had the doctors and clinic who were responsible for his care provided the correct medical care at the appropriate time. This boy’s life-long struggles and his parents’ life-long mental anguish are prime examples of why medical malpractice laws must fairly and adequately compensate victims of medical malpractice. Even the most fervent medical malpractice tort reform advocates could not paint this boy’s medical malpractice claim as “frivolous.”

If you or a family member have been injured as a result of the medical malpractice of a trusted medical provider, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses and injuries. Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you in investigating and bringing a medical malpractice claim. If you prefer, call us toll free at 800-295-3959

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