$10 Million Jury Verdict in Child’s Severe Injuries Caused by Bacterial Infection

Daniel Cantu was 3 months old when he was brought to Walker Baptist Medical Center’s emergency room suffering from fever, crying, fussiness, tachycardia, diarrhea and other symptoms. He underwent a physical examination, a chest x-ray and a flu test, which were all reported to be negative. Daniel was diagnosed as having an upper respiratory infection and was discharged.

That same night, Daniel’s condition worsened. He was returned to the hospital the next day and was noted to have additional symptoms such as vomiting, dehydration and a sunken fontanelle as well as weight loss. Testing at the hospital revealed many abnormalities, including impaired liver function and white blood cell levels.

Pediatrician Dr. James Wilbanks examined Daniel the following day and ordered flu tests, IV fluids and Tylenol on an as-needed basis. Two days later, Daniel was discharged again. He was then brought to another pediatrician who ordered an immediate lumbar puncture. The lumbar puncture showed that Daniel was likely suffering from bacterial meningitis, a diagnosis that was later confirmed. Daniel was hospitalized for about one month and now, at the age of 6, suffers from a seizure disorder, blindness, deafness and other problems.

Daniel’s father, on his behalf, sued the hospital alleging liability for Dr. Wilbanks’s negligence, including his choosing not to prescribe antibiotics and order a full workup for sepsis, a respiratory virus panel and a lumbar puncture. The defendants argued that Daniel had not been suffering from a bacterial infection during his admissions to the hospital.

The plaintiff, on the other hand, countered by presenting a state health department report that showed that one of the defendant’s nurses had reported the presence of bacterial meningitis in a patient named “Daniel Cantu.” Additionally, the Cantu family presented internal hospital e-mails showing that this nurse contacted the hospital leadership requesting the identification of all employees who had been in close contact with Daniel during his admissions.

This is an egregious case of negligence that was preventable and, at first presentation, observable.

The attorneys representing Daniel’s father were Dennis E. Goldasich, Jr., Joshua M. Vick and Justin C. Owen.

The jury signed a verdict for $10 million. At this jury trial, the Cantu family presented experts in emergency medicine, infectious disease, neuropsychology, pediatrics and vocational rehabilitation. The defense experts testified at trial in the areas of emergency medicine, neuropsychology and pediatrics.

Cantu v. Walker Baptist Hospital, No. 64-cv-2011-900378 (Ala. Cir. Ct. Walker County, February 2016).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling bacterial meningitis cases, hospital negligence cases, medical malpractice cases, birth trauma injury cases and physician negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Antioch, Bannockburn, Calumet City, Deerfield, Elmwood Park, Elmhurst, Grayslake, Hinsdale, Aurora, Elgin, Waukegan, Joliet and St. Charles, Ill. Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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