Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P. attorneys Joseph A. Power, Jr. and Joseph W. Balesteri recently secured a $40 million settlement for the family of a 12-year-old girl who suffered serious brain damage while being treated for strep throat and mononucleosis.
The minor’s parents took her to the emergency room on October 16, 2016. According to the lawsuit, she was diagnosed with mononucleosis and strep throat. These diseases were symptoms caused by an infection from an abscess deep in her throat according to Balesteri.
“The infection source and site is really significant, and it was burrowed into her lower throat,” he said.
By October 20, she was unable to eat food or take oral medications, and continued to show an abnormally rapid heart rate and breathing, as well as low blood-oxygen levels. During the case, Balesteri argued that her worsening condition should have prompted hospital staff to consult with a pediatric intensive care unit and transfer her to a children’s hospital to be evaluated further. He also argued that hospital staff should have noted the need to perform a neck CT scan as her condition deteriorated, which would have revealed her narrowed airway and bacterial infection.
According to the lawsuit, hospital staff attempted to insert a tube through her nose, down her esophagus, and into her stomach on October 22 in an attempt to ensure she was receiving the nutrition she needed, but the tube coiled in the back of her throat. Later that evening, hospital staff sedated her with Benadryl and Dilaudid before continuing their attempts to provide her with the nutrition she needed via a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC).
After inserting the line, she was laid on her back despite her trouble breathing. Soon after this, she stopped breathing, and she went into cardiac arrest. Hospital staff was able to resuscitate her after about three to six minutes by creating an emergency airway, but by that point she had suffered a catastrophic brain injury.
“Because she’s a kid, she survives all of that… and lives in this horrible condition of not being able to communicate or walk or engage that will go on for the rest of her life,” Balesteri said.
With the money secured in the settlement, the family will be able to provide their daughter with full-time nursing care at home, something they were previously unable to afford. According to Jury Verdict Reporter editor John L. Kirkton, this settlement is the largest recovery ever reported in Cook County for a brain damaged minor.