Lewis vs. West

Introduction:

This recent cause of action is as tragic as it was avoidable. The mother of a newborn initiated a lawsuit against one of her doctors after his alleged negligence left the baby with brain damage from oxygen deprivation. Injuries to newborn children are alarmingly common and this case is illustrative of the adversity that families are dealing with today.

Filed: August 4, 2016

Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Cook County

Category: Medical Malpractice; Family Expense Act

Plaintiff: Tara Lewis

Defendant(s): Dr. Joy West, Joy B. West, MD, SC, Calumet Physicians Associates, LTD and Roseland Community Hospital

Summary:

This case is really a story in two parts. Tara Lewis went to the Roseland Hospital on January 2, 2015 because she was pregnant and was experiencing discomfort. At that time, she was 9 months pregnant. Doctors examined her and noted that she had elevated blood pressure, arterial pressure, protein levels, and preeclampsia. Physicians also determined that the fetal heart rate was Category 2. Two days later, she went to another hospital because she was again experiencing problems. This time the doctors elected to perform an emergency cesarian section. Unfortunately, the new child, Ta’Nila Lewis, was born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Commonly referred to as HIE, this is a brain injury arising from oxygen deprivation. To recover for the long-term pain and costs associated with this condition, Ta’Nila’s mother, Tara, sued the doctor, doctor’s employer, and the hospital for damages. She argued that the hospital was liable because the doctor was acting as its apparent agent. Also, in addition to her medical malpractice claims against these three parties, she also sued each of them under the Illinois Family Expense Act because, in her opinion, their acts wrongfully incurred expenses for her through her daughter.

Claims and Damages:

As mentioned above, Lewis sued the doctor, doctor’s employer, and the hospital for medical malpractice related to this series of events. Her claims against all of them were identical and consisted of the following: they did not properly identify the issue and diagnose Ta’nilya in utero on January 2, 2015; they did not utilize a cesarian section on the date in question; they did not hospitalize Ta’Nilya on the date in question; and they prematurely discharged Tara from the hospital on January 3, 2015.

As for Lewis’ three claims against the same parties pursuant to the Illinois Family Expense Act, she alleged that the proceeding claims gave her a cause of action according to language found within that law. Therefore, the claims were again identical.

Out of these claims, Lewis claimed that Ta’Nilya incurred the following damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Pecuniary losses of over $50,000

Related Laws:

  • 735 ILCS 5/2-622
  • 740 ILCS 180
  • 750 ILCS 65/15
  • 735 ILCS 5/13-212
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1116
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1115
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1114
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1205

EXPERT INSIGHTS

  • The task for the plaintiff’s counsel in this situation is to determine and demonstrate that elevated blood pressure, arterial pressure, and preeclampsia warrant an emergency cesarian section in order to avoid detrimental birth defects to the child.
  • While punitive damages are barred in medical malpractice actions, the fact that the child was born with a substantial injury might allow the jury to return a verdict exponentially higher than the mere medical and financial costs. What is the value of having such a limited life due to the defendants’ malpractice? How can a jury not find sympathy for the mom and child? These points should afford plaintiff and her counsel extraordinary bargaining power in a settlement room.

Has Your Child Suffered an Injury During Labor and Delivery?

While the birthing process should be joyous, a lapse in judgment or failure to observe a child's heartbeat can result in a situations where a child's oxygen source can be interrupted resulting in a significant birth injury such as cerebral palsy. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers prosecutes birth trauma cases across Illinois. We invite you to contact our office for a free review of your situation with an experienced attorney.

Next Up:

For More Information

For more information about , please contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today by calling 888-424-5757. Talk to a lawyer now. Free consultation.

Client Reviews
  • Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.
    ★★★★★
  • Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.
    ★★★★★
  • This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.
    ★★★★★
  • Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!
    ★★★★★
  • Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.
    ★★★★★
Contact Us for a Free Consultation (888) 424-5757
Chicago Office Map