Chicago court awards $15 million for teacher’s childbirth death

Anticipation for a child’s birth reaches a fever pitch for parents and other family members as a baby is being delivered into the world. There can be nothing more heartbreaking for a Chicago parent than when something goes wrong in the delivery or operating room.

A Cicero teacher died after giving birth to her second child in the winter of 2008. A child birth injury lawsuit stated woman bled to death after a cesarean section, from a placental condition two doctors failed to notice. The baby apparently did not suffer from the complication.

The 33-year-old pregnant mother had undergone an ultrasound two months before the infant’s birth. The University of Chicago physician who interpreted the test results did not detect a high-risk abnormality called placenta accreta.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the placenta becomes dangerously embedded in the uterine wall in approximately one in 2,500 pregnancies. Placenta accreta is the most common of three related conditions that can cause serious injury to a newborn or mother. The detachment of the placenta during childbirth can lead to organ damage or excessive bleeding and possible death.

A Cook County civil court found two doctors guilty of medical negligence – the physician who interpreted the ultrasound and the MacNeal Hospital obstetrician who performed the delivery. More than $15 million in wrongful death damages were awarded to the patient’s husband.

During deliberations that lasted less than six hours, the jury agreed the doctors negligently failed to diagnosis the mother’s risky condition.

High standards are set for medical professionals because their decisions affect human lives. Doctors and hospitals are responsible when a diagnosis, treatment or surgery is performed carelessly or recklessly. Victims have the right to compensation for birth injuries and other harm caused by medical negligence.

The Illinois statute of limitations gives plaintiffs two years from the date of an injury or death to file a medical malpractice case.

Source:, “Jury awards $15 million to man whose wife died giving birth to her child” Tina Sfondeles, Nov. 22, 2013

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Chicago court awards $15 million for teacher’s childbirth death