A jury in Cook County, Illinois recently awarded a single mom $101 million in a verdict over medical malpractice. The amount was reduced, but the mother of a severely brain damaged little boy will still receive $50 million for his care. After medical mistakes made during his delivery, Gerald Sallis is unable to walk or speak and requires constant care.
Failure to Provide Standard of Care During Delivery
Sallis, who is now five years old, suffered serious brain damage during deliver in 2014. His mother, Tequila Snow went to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, just outside of Chicago in Cook County, to deliver her baby.
Snow’s lawyers argued on her behalf in a trial, showing that her son suffered from a lack of standard of care. They proved to the jury that the medical staff at West Suburban ignored troubling ultrasound information. The imaging test showed that the unborn baby had not moved for about six hours during labor, results that should have led to an emergency Cesarean section. They also argued that doctors ignored Snow’s concerns about the health of her baby.
Medical experts in the case testified that this failure directly harmed Gerald Sallis. Had the C-section been performed, they argued, the boy would not have suffered such a serious birth injury and brain damage.
Round-the-Clock Care Necessary
Because of the damage that Sallis suffered during labor and delivery, he is extremely disabled. He is now five years old but still cannot walk, feed himself, or speak. His mother, Snow, had to provide care 24 hours a day just for his survival.
As a working single mother it was impossible for her to provide that care alone. Snow was forced to put her son in a residential home, where he could get the monitoring and treatment necessary. With the award from the trial she will be able to bring Sallis home and care for him there.
Agreement Before Trial Prevents Appeal
Even when the evidence for medical malpractice is so compelling, many medical centers or hospitals will appeal jury decisions that don’t go in their favor. Many are unwilling to admit liability. In the case of Snow and Sallis, both sides had negotiated and agreed in advance to a $50 million cap on any verdict.
This settlement agreement is what reduced the jury’s $101 million award, but it also benefitted Snow and her son. The agreement meant that the defendants could not appeal the decision. They had agreed to abide by the jury decision and the award up to $50 million. In many cases appeals go on for years, meaning that families can’t get the money the desperately need from awards. Snow and Sallis will benefit much sooner from the monetary damages.
Medical professionals are responsible for providing an acceptable standard of care for all patients in all situations. When they fail to do so, the consequences can be devastating as was the case for Snow and her son. But with good legal representation patients can get justice and the damages that help make the situation a little better.