When those calling for “tort reform” are working to pass measures limiting the rights of medical malpractice victims, they likely believe that they are fighting to help doctors under attack. Of course, our Illinois birth injury lawyers know that is not at all the case. Unfortunately, it is everyday community members and innocent families struggling to put their lives together after devastating medical errors that are hurt by so-called “reform” efforts.
For example, many states have enacted special legal rules that limit the ability of victims of medical malpractice-including birth injuries-to recover the compensation that a jury decides they are entitled. Even after winning the right to head to court and convincing the fact-finder of their legal position, these families are often still denied their right to redress. Naples News recently reported on one family’s fight to obtain the resources they need to help their son survive. The child, now seven years old, was born with cerebral palsy that was caused by medical errors. The child mother was given the drug Pitocen to help induce contractions. Over the course of the birth the woman was given more and more dosages of the drug. However, the total amount given to the woman was not properly monitored. As a result, the woman began having particularly severe contractions that cut off the child’s flow of oxygen which ultimately led to the child’s condition.
The child’s parents filed a birth injury lawsuit to seek redress for the consequences of the error. The case went to trial and a jury found in favor of the family for $30 million. However, the family has not received any of that money. Unique sovereign immunity legal rules in the state limit the family’s right to recover anything over $200,000 from the publically run health system unless a special “claims bill” is approved by the state legislature. Unfortunately, that bill was denied last year and it is unclear if it will be successful this year. The hospital administrators plan to use lobbying efforts to defeat the measure.
While the family waits to see if they will have the resources that they need, the young child is struggling to survive. Budget cuts in his area recently meant that he no longer was able to have the extra assistance he needs to attend school-his mother was forced to home school him. The child is able to communicate and move around somewhat, though it takes him extra time. He misses being around friends at school. His wheelchair is getting old and can no longer go up a ramp, however the family does not have the money to buy a new one. In addition, the boy is getting older and his mother is not sure how much longer she can handle his physical needs without extra assistance.
It remains shocking that so many roadblocks continue to be placed in front of victims of these accidents, preventing them from receiving the redress to which they should be entitled under the law. Our Chicago childbirth mistake lawyers will continue to fight against all efforts to unfairly handcuff victims in our area. No local policymakers, medical professionals, or other advocates should fear the consequences of basic fairness and accountability. Please contact our office if you feel that you or a loved one has suffered injury as a results of preventable mistakes made during the birth of a child.
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