Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy Pirrello was a resident at Maryville Academy, a facility that houses and treats minors with behavioral problems. At the time, Brandy was 16 years old. She had been admitted to the facility in early 2005 and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was at risk of suicide or self-harm. On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy leaped from her second-story window, landed on a cement patio and seriously injured herself.

On July 17, 2007, Brandy turned 18 years old. The day before, she filed a lawsuit against Maryville. Brandy claimed that Maryville had been negligent in choosing not to take precautions against the risk that she would try to hurt herself. Brandy was seeking compensation for the expenses that she incurred due to her hospitalization and related medical expenses.

However, the injury and the bulk of the expenses incurred between the ages of 16 and 18 and as such, fell under Illinois Family Expense Act. By the terms of the act, the responsibility for paying for Brandy’s medical care was her parents’ responsibility rather than Brandy herself. Therefore, her parents had the right to sue. Brandy’s parents did not join her as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Brandy’s parents divorced when she was 8, and Brandy was on her father’s health insurance at the time of her injuries. Brandy’s father indicated at a deposition that he did not intend to be involved in her lawsuit.

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Often an obstetrician will order levels of medicine to induce labor and the medication may lead to obstetrical malpractice. A treating obstetrician may be found to be negligent by prescribing doses of labor induction medication, such as oxytocin, that may induce or augment labor, but may lead to serious birth injuries to the unborn fetus.  Oxytocin is a natural hormone found in humans, but the synthetic version is prescribed to help with contractions in the second and third stages of labor.

The use of what are known as high-alert or off-label medications to ripen the cervix or induce and augment labor can result in the mother’s contractions being too strong or too frequent or even too long, which may cause serious and permanent damage to the fetus. 

Accordingly, medical professionals in labor and delivery should be clear on understanding uterine activity and its effect on the fetus’s ability to be oxygenated. In addition, as is usually the case, the fetus’s heart rate must be monitored.

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Three-month-old Emma Takacs developed a poor appetite. She had a fever that was in excess of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Emma’s mom and dad took her to a hospital’s emergency room where a nurse documented Emma’s abnormal vital signs and fussiness.

An emergency department doctor, Duane Siberski, M.D., examined Emma. Dr. Siberski diagnosed an ear infection.  Emma was discharged with a prescription for an oral antibiotic and her parents were given instructions to take her to see a pediatrician, if needed.

A few days later, Emma was found to be lethargic and her skin was cool to the touch. Emma’s parents brought her to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having bacterial meningitis, a hypoxic brain injury and hydrocephalous.  Hydrocephalous is a medical term for what is known as “water on the brain.”  The condition is one in which an abnormal accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid lodges in the ventricles or cavities of the brain. It can be caused by and is connected with the bacterial meningitis that results in an inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and the spinal cord. That tissue is called “meninges.”  Acute bacterial meningitis is a very serious condition.

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