Matthew Chimis’s mother went into labor during the early morning of Oct. 26, 1997. She contacted her obstetrician, the defendant, Dr. Scott Pierce, who told her to go to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital; he said he would meet her there. Chimis was admitted to Gottlieb’s labor and delivery unit as a vaginal birth after Cesarean section patient and placed on a fetal heart monitor.
A few hours after Chimis arrived, the hospital staff paged Dr. Pierce twice, once at 3:30 a.m. and another time at 4 a.m. in order to advise him of his patient’s status. At 4:10 a.m., Dr. Pierce spoke to a nurse who reported a lack of progression of labor and that the fetal monitor showed tachycardia, which is a heart rate that is above the normal range for a fetus.
Dr. Pierce spoke with the mother on the phone and they both agreed she would wait for the doctor to come to the hospital to do a C-section since delivery was not imminent given the prolonged labor.
Dr. Pierce arrived around 5 a.m. to prepare for the C-section. Approximately 15 minutes prior to delivery, the fetal heart monitor was removed to prep the mother’s abdomen for the surgery. The baby was delivered at 5:44 a.m.
In this lawsuit, it was claimed by the Chimis family that Matthew suffered a hypoxic ischemic event during this 15-minute period causing hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a condition in which the brain has not received enough oxygen. When that happens, brain cells begin dying and the person in this case, the fetus or newborn, can be brain damaged.
As a result, Matthew has spastic dystonic quadriplegia, which requires 24-hour care. This condition means that all four of Matthew’s limbs are compromised. The lifetime care plan that was introduced as evidence at trial would reach $16 million.
The Chimis family contended that the fetal heart tracings required earlier delivery and that Dr. Pierce should have come to the hospital sooner and gone immediately to the operating room upon arrival. The delivery of Matthew 15 minutes earlier would have prevented the brain damage that he suffered.
Dr. Pierce asserted nothing about the course of labor necessitated earlier delivery and that the brain damage occurred prior to labor and delivery. The jury reportedly deliberated for less than 30 minutes. That is never a good sign for a plaintiff in a birth injury, medical negligence case.
Matthew Chimis, a minor v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and Dr. Scott M. Pierce, No. 05 L 6044 (Cook County, Illinois).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth injury cases for families of children who have been injured at birth or who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Highland Park, Winnetka, Schaumburg, Roselle, Elgin, Aurora, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, Elk Grove Village, Prospect Heights, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Lake Forest, Hawthorn Woods, Barrington Hills, Wheeling, Vernon Hills, Bensenville, Franklin Park and Streamwood, Ill.
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