Nine-year-old Julien Florez was awarded $50 million in damages after an Illinois jury determined that the birth injury that led to his cerebral palsy was the fault of physicians at NorthShore University Health System. The jury heard two weeks of testimony describing the mistakes that were made after Florez’ mother arrived at the health system’s Evanston hospital to give birth in 2009.
According to evidence submitted at trial, Florez’ cerebral palsy was a result of him having suffered from severe oxygen deprivation during the birth process, and that had the physicians attending to his mother Aimee properly monitored his status in utero, they would have ordered a cesarean section.
Boy’s Birth Injury Was Entirely Preventable
According to the family’s spokesperson, When Aimee Florez arrived at the hospital with her husband David, her son’s fetal monitor strip indicated that he was healthy, but those readings became undetectable over the next few hours, an indication that steps need to be taken to avoid a birth injury. Instead, the physicians waited, and exacerbated the child’s stress by prescribing a contraction-strengthening medication during labor. The labor progressed over 12 hours, and when the C-section was ordered it was indicated as a routine procedure rather than an emergency procedure. The boy was blue at birth, with low heart rate and unable to breathe on his own.
The damage caused by the brain injury was permanent: he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and requires care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He will never be able to care for himself and has difficulty communicating. The $50 million award was broken down into the future loss of a normal life, future medical expenses, future emotional distress, past loss of a normal life, future lost earnings increased risk of harm past emotional distress and future pain and suffering.