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Jury Awards $24 Million in Brain Injury Medical Malpractice Case

Brain injury cases involving children are often rooted in problems during their birth. When proper protocols are not following during a birth, the child may be deprived oxygen for a considerable length of time, causing brain damage. However, similar problems caused by medical malpractice can develop outside of the birthing context, including situations where a young child is having other medical procedures performed. When the doctors and nurses do not act properly, then serious problems can arise, often affecting the child for the rest of their lives.

Med Mal Brain Injury Case
For example, The Times-Picayune reported last week on a jury verdict in a medical malpractice case where a toddler suffered permanent brain damage. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys understand that these sorts of cases represent some of the most damaging in all of the civil justice system, because the errors often mean decades of close, intensive care will be needed.

The child’s mother filed the brain injury case on behalf of her then-three year old son. The child visited the defendant hospital about seven years ago to have a special surgery to correct a congential heart defect. It was a delicate procedure that obviously required proper care and properly operating equipment at all times. Sadly, errors were made during the procedure.

Specifically, suit alleged that an infusion pump used during the surgery malfunctioned. As a result, the pump accidentally delivered an adrenalin drug–epinephrine–into the child’s body. This caused the youngster to spin into cardiac arrest. The medical team was able to save him, but not before he was permanently harmed. The child suffered irreversible brain damage, and he will require close care for the rest of his life.

The case eventually went to trial, and after a five day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the family against the medical clinic. They awarded the family $24.2 million for the lifetime worth of expenses the child will need as a result of the brain injury.

Legal Complications
However, it is unclear exactly what the family will receive and when. Our Illinois brain injury lawyers know that many legal complications exist when multiple defendants and defective devices are involved. This case is no different.

For example, a law in the state capped the amount that the hospital has to pay at $100,000. A separate system exists in the state to pay for some amounts over that capped level. Sometimes that fund will pay for a percentage of the actual jury award. In this case, the jury decided that the fund should pay 35% of the award. Yet, the patient compensation fund is set to appeal that ruling, and so the family likely has another legal challenge in front of them before actually receiving the award.

In addition, the manufacturers of the device were also named as defendants in the suit. Yet, both manufacturers reached a settlement with the plaintiffs before the trial. That means that the lawyers for those manufacturers did not participate in the trial. The jury found that the manufacturers were 65% at fault. That would have put them on the hook for about $15.7 million. Yet, the actual terms of the settlement are private, so it is unclear what the family received.

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