Illinois State Judge Awards $ 23.1 Million Medical Malpractice Judgment To Family Of Infant Who Suffered Birth Injury And Delayed Transfusion
On June 21, 2011, Rebecca Kerrins was admitted to Palos Community Hospital for the birth of her child. Kerrins stated that she chose Palos for its representation on its website that it provided on-site neonatologists, since she had a high risk pregnancy. She reportedly suffered a placental abruption shortly after admission causing the baby to lose a large amount of blood. The hospital staff tried to reach the on-call neonatologist, Dr. Thomas Myers, repeatedly. There was a delay of over an hour after the baby was born by caesarean section before a blood transfusion began, although she was given fluids immediately following delivery. Myers had allegedly, for the first time in 41 years of practice, left his pager and cell phone at the hospital when he changed to go home. The infant D.K. suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. D.K. has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and global developmental delays, requiring round-the-clock care as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
On May 5, 2014, Kerrins and D.K. filed an action in the Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois, Law Division against Palos Community Hospital, Myers, and Renaissance Medical Group. Other doctors were initially listed as defendants. According to plaintiff's counsel, Palos Community Hospital argued that "on-site neonatologists" did not mean coverage 24/7 and that D.K. suffered most of the damage in utero when the placental abruption occurred about 40 minutes before she was born. Myers reportedly argued that it was excusable human error to leave his cell phone and pager and that the covering neonatologist was there only a few minutes later.
On April 6, 2017, Judge Kay Marie Hanlon allowed plaintiffs to withdraw a jury demand and agree to a non-jury trial. On May 9, 2017, Judge Hanlon awarded judgment in favor of plaintiffs for $23,138,379.98. According to newspaper reports at the time, Judge Hanlon found the Palos Community Hospital not negligent, but it was liable for approximately $ 21,000,000 of the verdict.
Plaintiffs were represented by James T. Ball of Ball Law Group. Defendants were represented by Terrence M. Burns, Katherine C. Morrison, and Ian Sherman of Dykema Gossett PLLC; Aiju C. Thevatheril of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP; and Aimee Lipkis and Mike Huber of Cray, Huber, Horstman, Heil & Vanausdal.
Lexis Advance Subscribers may view the complete summary, including expert information, here: Michael Kerrins; D.K.; Rebecca Kerrins, et al. v. Palos Community Hospital; Brian C. Sullivan, M.D.; Thomas F. Myers, M.D., et al; 2015 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 11343.
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