OAK PARK, Ill. — A record settlement of $101 million was awarded to a suburban Chicago family whose child was born brain damaged at a suburban hospital.
Jurors deliberated at the Daley Center for six hours after hearing evidence of a dysfunctional hospital environment and watching some of the video that you can watch in the player above.
Gerald Sallis Jr., now 5, is Tequila Snow’s firstborn. Experts testified he would be a healthy child if staff at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park had properly done their jobs. At the end of a month-long trial, the jury, made up of six men and six women, agreed.
“They saw Gerald and they heard the evidence and saw that we weren’t at any fault and that this little boy, my little boy, suffered for no reason, and he’s still suffering,” Snow said.
Gerald can’t speak or care for himself in any way. He relies on his mother and medical staff 24/7. Tequila said when she came into the hospital in Aug. 2014, it was because she had felt the child she was carrying become less responsive. Her lawyers said fetal monitoring was initiated, then ignored for a crucial five or more hours while the baby in utero was starved of oxygen. By the time an emergency C-section was performed, it was too late.
“Do your job. Call a doctor. Get somebody in there who can make a decision to get this done right away. And we believe if that was done, we wouldn’t be here today,” Snow said.
The family’s attorney, Sarah King, said the settlement money, which will cover a lifetime of medical care, is justice for Gerald.
“…because those five or six hours should never have happened. There’s absolutely no excuse,” King said.
A spokesperson for West Suburban Medical Center said they have no comment on the settlement, but said their legal team said there will be no appeal of the verdict, and that’s because of a deal made while the jury was still deliberating. That means that the settlement may be worth far less than the $101 million, but more than enough to assure that Gerald is cared for for the rest of his life.