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High malpractice settlements reflect severity of injuries

When medical professionals in Illinois make mistakes, consequences for patients can last a lifetime. An examination of the high monetary settlements achieved in some malpractice cases reveals how badly things can go wrong in medical settings.

A family settled for $30 million in 2016 after accusing a surgeon in Chicago of operating on a 6-year-old boy with unproven surgical approaches. The boy underwent 25 surgeries. His original medical problems had not been life-threatening, but the surgeries caused brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Another case that accused a surgeon of failing to follow required standards of care resulted in an out-of-state hospital paying a female victim $62 million. Mistakes during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy caused her to have three heart attacks. Her complications also resulted in skin grafts, two amputations and a colostomy.

Premature babies are especially vulnerable to simple medical mistakes. A lawsuit that concluded with a $20 million settlement for a mother and her daughter accused nurses of failing to calibrate the infant's feeding tube. An imbalance caused by excess glucose damaged the girl's brain.

When a person wants to pursue a claim of medical malpractice, an attorney may be able to assist. Medical cases face high standards of proof to show negligence, but an attorney could contact independent medical professionals to provide testimony. Evidence that a physician or hospital did not follow accepted medical standards of care could support a claim for damages. An attorney could approach the responsible party before a trial and seek to negotiate a settlement. This effort might lead to the payment of compensation for medical bills, suffering and long-term care. If the responsible party refuses to come to terms, an attorney may pursue litigation.

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