Hospital Fails to Adequately Monitor Pregnant Mother – $11.5 Million Awarded for Death of Unborn Child and Organ Loss of Mother in Miller v. Edward Hospital

A Cook County medical malpractice lawsuit was critical of a Naperville hospital for its failure to appropriately monitor the vital signs of an expectant mother. As a result of the poor monitoring by the Cook County hospital, the mother not only lost her baby, but had to undergo future surgery herself. Sabine C. Miller v. Edward Hospital, et al., 05 L 1192.

In November 2004, 30 year-old Sabine Miller was brought by ambulance to Edward Hospital. She was 14 weeks pregnant and had developed severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Upon her arrival, the Naperville hospital immediately began evaluating Miller to determine whether her baby was the cause of her severe pain.

The Emergency Department was able to rule out any problems with the fetus and Miller’s pregnancy. However, in order to determine what was the cause of Miller’s abdominal pain, the staff elected to admit her for further testing and observation. Up to this point, there were no violations in the standard of care administered by the Edward Hospital staff. It was not until Miller was admitted to the hospital’s postpartum unit that the medical negligence occurred.

During her admission, Miller’s blood pressure exhibited drastic spikes and drops, which should have signaled the medical staff that something was severely wrong. However, the Edward Hospital staff failed to respond to the severe shifts in Miller’s blood pressure. As a result, Miller developed septic shock within ten hours of her admission. Septic shock can lead to multiple organ failure and can lead to death.

Miller’s baby was unable to survive the shock and the unhealthy living environment it created; the 14 week-old fetus died at Edward Hospital. Miller herself sustained a severe injury to her small intestine, which had stopped functioning due to a lack of blood flow to the organ. While Miller survived, she later required a small intestine transplant as a result of the organ failure she sustained during her admission.

The Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit was critical of both Edward Hospital and two of its physicians, alleging that the failure to properly monitor Miller’s severe shifts in blood pressure not only was below the medical standard of care, but resulted in the loss of her baby and Miller’s intestinal failure. The hospital and its doctors denied that its actions violated the standard of care.

After debating for five hours, the Illinois jury returned a $11.5 million verdict against the hospital; the two doctors were found not guilty. The Cook County jury verdict consisted of the following damages:

$6.5 million for economic damages,
$2 million for past and future pain and suffering,
$2 million for past and future loss of normal life, and
$1 million for the wrongful death of the unborn child.

Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois birth injury cases and Cook County wrongful death matters for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Warrenville, West Chicago, Lockport, New Lenox, and Hoffman Estates.

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