DuPage County, Illinois Mother Recieves $11 Million Jury Verdict for Death of Unborn Child

A recent Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit received an $11.5 million award from a DuPage County jury. The Illinois medical negligence case included a birth injury claim regarding the demise of the plaintiff mother’s unborn child and an additional medical negligence claim regarding the loss of the mother’s small intestine. The negligence lawsuit against Naperville’s Edward Hospital was filed in DuPage County.

The Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit began when Sabine Miller, the plaintiff mother, presented to Edward Hospital at 14 weeks pregnant complaining of abdominal pains. Despite being in the second trimester of her pregnancy Miller was admitted to the hospital’s postpartum unit, which typically manages the care and treatment of mothers after the child has already been born.

The medical issues involved during the prenatal period versus the postpartum period are drastically different and require different types of care and treatment. The most drastic difference being that during the prenatal period the baby is still inside the mother and therefore cannot be monitored by way of external monitoring. Instead, during the prenatal period the infant’s condition is typically assessed using fetal heart monitoring strips, which record both baby’s heart rate, the mother’s contractions, if any, and typically include notations of the mother’s vital signs.

While in the postpartum unit, the nursing staff at Edward Hospital failed to appropriately monitor the baby’s deteriorating condition. In addition, the nursing staff failed to monitor the mother’s condition either.

Upon presenting to Edward Hospital Miller had told the medical staff that she had a prior history of a twisted intestine. Obviously, given the patient’s complaints of abdominal pain, this information would have been helpful in evaluating her pain. However, her abdominal pain continued and over a period of several hours it increased to the point that she lost consciousness.

By the time Miller and her unborn child were transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) her small intestine was unsalvageable and her baby was dead. Miller has since received a small intestine transplant, but has been told by doctors that it would be extremely risky for her to get pregnant again.
The above hospital course is extremely unusual for an expectant mother. Typically, pregnant woman would be admitted to the labor and delivery unit instead of the postpartum unit. Also, any time an unborn child exhibits vital signs demonstrating a poor condition the transfer is to the operating room, not the ICU. Presumably the medical staff’s lack of familiarity with these types of issues led to the delay in recognizing the deteriorating state of both Miller and her baby, a fact that likely contributed to the jury’s large award.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Glenview, Lisle, Hoffman Estates, and Blue Island.

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