Chicago June 27, 2022 A Cook County jury awarded a Chicago mother and her young son $20 million last Friday after finding medical staff at Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center guilty of medical malpractice after they failed to perform a timely cesarean section resulting in a severe brain injury from a lack of oxygen to the newborn baby that will forever adversely impact his life. Levin and Perconti filed a nine-count medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs, Bonita Johnson and her son Anthony Harris, now age seven, against Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center, four doctors and three nurses there alleging if proper medical care had been given, the catastrophic brain injury would not have occurred.
After a three-week trial before Circuit Judge Janet Adams Brosnahan, the jury deliberated for less than five hours and ruled on behalf of the plaintiffs on all counts but one. The jury found the attending doctor not guilty since she was not kept apprised by other medical staff of difficulties with the labor. She testified she would have performed the c-section sooner if she had known. The jury awarded the mother and son $20 million in damages for the negligence of the other defendants named in the complaint.
“We are grateful to the jurors for seeing this case for what it was, a very preventable tragedy. If the nurses and doctors had done their job and provided the proper medical care required under the circumstances, Anthony would be leading a normal healthy life,” said Margaret Battersby Black, the plaintiffs’ attorney, and a partner at Levin and Perconti. “Due to their negligence, Anthony will require lifelong medical, personal and financial care. He will never be able to support himself or live alone.”
On October 15, 2014, Johnson was admitted to Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center 40 weeks pregnant with her son Anthony. Medical staff was aware that Johnson and her unborn baby had an intrauterine growth restriction. The condition means that the baby may not tolerate the rigors of labor as well as a fetus with normal growth. It requires medical staff to monitor events during labor and delivery that could result in oxygen deprivation to the baby. Often, early c-sections are required in these cases.
During the trial, the plaintiffs’ attorneys presented evidence that in the final three hours of labor, it was clear the unborn child was struggling and not getting the oxygen he needed. The attorneys argued that nurses and residents ignored established protocols and clear signs of distress and did not notify doctors of the worsening situation. By the time they finally performed the c-section, it was too late to prevent the brain injury.
“The medical staff failed to do the proper thing time and time again. It was not one mistake, it was many mistakes,” said Mike Bonamarte, the plaintiffs’ attorney, and a partner at Levin and Perconti. “There was no sense of urgency, concern or action regarding Anthony’s worsening condition. His brain injury was not inevitable, it was the result of not performing the c-section in a timely manner.”
In addition to Battersby Black and Bonamarte, attorneys Cari Silverman, Dov Apfel and Seth Cardeli also represented the plaintiffs during the trial.
“We were able to expand our firm’s practice in birth trauma and obstetrical malpractice claims significantly with their assistance. They set the standard for handling these complex and difficult cases in a way that makes a difference in the lives of injured children and their families,” said Steve Levin, co-founding partner at Levin and Perconti. “This $20 million verdict is a continuation of that. Anthony Harris will now get the proper care he needs for the rest of his life and that is a great relief for his mother.”
About Levin & Perconti
Levin & Perconti is a nationally renowned law firm committed to protecting and vindicating the rights of people who have been injured due to systemic flaws and corporations choosing profits over people. The firm concentrates on all types of personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home, and wrongful death litigation.