On February 7, 2019, a Chicago Circuit Court Judge denied the motion of a hospital and obstetrician to set aside a jury verdict of $50.3 million awarded by a jury on October 9, 2018 to a baby born with profoundly disabling brain injuries. The 43 year old mother came to the hospital when she was five days past her due date to deliver. Initially, the baby appeared to be well but after three hours of labor the baby's heart rate dropped three times and recovered. After a few more hours the mother was given pitocin to stimulate contractions. When the baby's heart rate dropped again in response to the pitocin, the delivery was still treated as routine.
The attorney's for the baby successfully argued that in response to a fourth drop in the baby's heart rate after administration of pitocin, an emergency c-section should have been performed. This delay in recognizing the emergency and in performing a stat c-section resulted in a prolonged deprivation of oxygen. The jury agreed that a failure to diagnose and treat a decreased blood flow during labor caused the infant's hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. As a result, the baby suffers from cerebral palsy, cognitive deficits, hearing loss and difficulty walking. It was reported by local newspapers that the hospital made a pre-suit settlement offer of $10 million before the lawsuit was filed which was rejected by the family. Florez v NorthShore Evanston Hospital, Cook County Circuit Court