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Parents of permanently-disabled child awarded over $30 million

The parents of an Illinois boy who was reportedly permanently disabled by more than two dozen surgeries have reached a $30 million-plus settlement with the hospital where the surgeries were performed -- Chicago's Rush University Medical Center -- and the pediatric surgeon involved, according to the law firm representing the parents. This ends a malpractice case brought three years ago. It is also reportedly the fourth largest award for a medical malpractice case in our state.

According to the plaintiffs' attorneys, the boy was born in late 2009 with a congenital condition in which the esophagus and stomach aren't properly connected. The attorneys called it a "non-life threatening, easily correctable" condition.

However, according to the malpractice suit, when the initial surgery was performed to correct the problem, the surgeon "failed to exercise due care." As a result, the plaintiffs' attorneys say, the child was subjected to multiple "experimental procedures" that the hospital didn't authorize and that weren't "pursuant to clinical trial protocol."

The last surgery, which reportedly included "an inappropriate, off-label use of an endoclose needle," severed the boy's pulmonary artery, according to a press release by the attorneys. As a result, the boy has "profound, irreversible brain injury and cerebral palsy."

Why the hospital allowed these surgeries to continue was not reported. However, the plaintiffs' attorneys said that the hospital displayed a "dramatic lack of oversight" in the case.

It's always wise to seek another medical opinion when multiple surgeries or treatments are recommended if they don't seem to be working or are making the condition worse. However, people tend to trust medical professionals and therefore don't question them. Sadly, some aren't worthy of that trust.

When someone has been harmed by a surgical or medical procedure, it's essential to determine what your legal options are. Medical malpractice suits can not only provide much needed compensation for victims, but may help prevent doctors and medical facilities from causing harm to other patients.

Source: Cook County Record, "Family of boy disabled for life after 25 surgeries awarded $30 million vs doctor, Rush Medical Center," Jonathan Bilyk, Feb. 23, 2016

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