April 6, 2010 - Court: Doctors Caused Baby's Brain Damage

An Illinois family was awarded nearly $29 million from a hospital and doctors for causing their son to become a quadriplegic at birth, court records showed.

The Arroyo family of Gurnee sued Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago for negligence during the birth of the baby, Christian, in 2003, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

A U.S. district court Friday awarded $22.6 million in addition to a $6.5 million 2009 settlement with the hospital.

The Arroyo family argued the two federally employed doctors working at the hospital did not give Christian's mother, Maria, necessary antibiotics after her water broke in labor. The baby was not given medication, either, and an infection traveled to his brain and caused permanent damage, the Sun-Times reported.

Christian consequently has cerebral palsy, is a spastic quadriplegic, and cannot talk, walk or eat through his mouth, the newspaper said.

"Had the federal government's 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," the Arroyo's lawyer, said.

The Federal Tort Claims Act permits individuals to sue the federal government with the provision the case is tried by a judge rather than a jury, the Sun-Times reported.

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