Judge Awards Gurnee Family $29 Million for Medical Negligence

March 8, 2011

A group of federally employed physicians out of Northwestern University were recently found guilty of medical negligence in a case involving a Gurnee family that left their newborn son with cerebral palsy. The family was awarded $29 million dollars for negligence that resulted in both severe mental and psychical impairments in their son.

The Northwestern doctors were attending to the pregnant Gurnee woman and they ignored the fact that the woman had an infection before her son was born. That infection ultimately spread to the boy' brain and resulted in him being born with cerebral palsy. According to court testimony, the boy had showed signs of infection during the early stages of labor, but due to the negligence of the doctors it went untreated. The infection eventually made its way through the child's bloodstream and into the boy' brain.

According to the Chicago medical malpractice lawyer representing the family, "Had the federal government' doctors followed the standard of care and provided the antibiotics to Maria or Christian at the appropriate times, Christian would have been a normal baby boy." Maria Arroyo is the Gurnee mother and her son Christian is the victim of the negligence suit. The boy is now unable to walk, talk, or eat normally. He has permanent brain damage and is a quadriplegic.

The family received a previous settlement from Northwestern in 2009 for $6.5 million dollars. A U.S. District judge ruled in favor of the family and passed down an additional $22.6 million dollars for both economical needs and noneconomic loss for the boy. The Judge cited that the boy' medical needs through the course of his lifetime will be quite extensive and costly.

The family of the boy sued these federal doctors under the Federal Tort Claims Act which gives private citizens the authority to sue the federal government.

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