$32 Million Settlement for Quadruple Amputation Due to Delayed Diagnosis
E. v. The University of Chicago Medical Center, et al.
We represented the mother of a Chicago girl who, at age 8, was taken to the hospital with a fever and pain in her right leg. During the first 24 hours after her admission, tests showed that she had a 100 degree temperature that continued to rise, that she was unable to bear any weight on her right leg, that she had an elevated white blood cell count with low blood pressure, and that she had an abnormal C-reactive protein which indicated inflammation throughout her body. All of these were classic symptoms of septic arthritis — a dangerous joint infection found most often in children. Sepsis begins as a simple infection that, if not properly and promptly treated with antibiotics, can cause a series of bodily reactions that result in horrendous injury or death. Despite this, the hospital did not order any antibiotics for our client until the second day after her admission, by which time it was too late. Although our client had come to the hospital early enough for treatment to be effective, the delay in administering antibiotics resulted in infection that led to amputation of both of her arms below the elbows and both of her legs below the knees. We filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court in September 2012 on behalf of the girl’s mother, alleging that the hospital and five of its doctors were negligent in their diagnosis and care of her daughter. By demonstrating strong expert evidence that timely treatment would likely have prevented the horrific injuries, we secured through intense negotiations a $32 million settlement that will help fund handicap-accessible changes to the girl’s home, therapy and the ability to travel for the most advanced care and technology.