A disabled girl from Robbins will receive a $15 million dollar award for improper medical care under the terms of a settlement approved by Cook County Judge Benjamin Novoselsky.
The settlement is the highest malpractice payout in Cook County Hospital history. The settlement was approved by the County Board on March 21, 2002 and is more than $3 million dollars higher than the record malpractice award agreed to by the county last year. Robert J. Napleton represented the plaintiffs in this case.
It is the labor and delivery nurse’s responsibility to clamp off the IV line before wheeling the patient from the labor area to the delivery room and it wasn’t done in this case’, said the plaintiffs attorney, Robert J. Napleton. Even worse, none of the hospital nurses had the courage to step up and admit involvement with unhooking the patient from the I.V. pump on the day in question. On a day that should have been the happiest day of Lavonne White’s life turned into an unthinkable disaster resulting in profound injuries to her daughter, and the mother’s death a few days later. The sudden cardiac arrest of the mother due to a magnesium sulfate overdose caused the mother and baby to be deprived of oxygen for over 15 minutes. The events that transpired (mother and baby suddenly going downhill) in the early morning hours on July 18, 1993 are one of the most catastrophic situations in medicine. Napleton said. A question was raised by the plaintiffs’ attorneys as to whether there were enough nurses on duty to properly monitor her IV lines. In the discovery phase of the case, it was determined one nurse was overseeing the labor of four patients, including Lavonne White. The mom got 10 times the prescribed amount of a potent drug because of carelessness by the attending nurse and lack of personnel. It was an event waiting to happen due to individual nursing negligence and negligence by the institution itself. said Napleton. It was prudent of the County Board to approve the award because their exposure was greater than the settlement amount given the egregious nature of the case and the severity of the child’s injuries he added. On the other hand, this settlement ensures the future medical needs of this child will be taken care of for life. Because of that, it would be too risky to try this case to verdict given the amount of the County’s settlement offer. We think it is an appropriate resolution to a tragic medical misadventure.