Edward Hospital recently settled a lawsuit involving triplets born nearly 11 years ago, one of whom suffered brain damage shortly after birth when she was given too much of a common intravenous solution.
In the Nov. 21 decision, 18th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Dorothy French Mallen ordered the Naperville hospital to pay $7 million in damages to the plaintiff, Rachel Cooper, who lives with her family in Kendall County.
According to the family’s attorney, Robert Baizer, a partner in the Highland Park firm Baizer Kolar & Lewis, P.C., the three babies’ birth on Jan. 13, 2003, was medically uneventful. Rachel’s doctor ordered her placed on an IV in the neonatal intensive care unit, at a rate of 4.5 cc per hour.
“It was just sugar water,” Baizer said. “It was just a routine order to hydrate the baby.”
The hospital used an infusion pump intended for use with adults, he said, and for the first two hours, the newborn girl received the correct dosage. But when the bag was empty, the person who replaced it “reset the pump to deliver 405 cc’s per hour, instead of the ordered 4.5 cc’s,” Baizer said in a statement.
The increased fluid cause Rachel’s blood volume to increase by 250 percent within an hour, according to the attorney.
“Eventually, someone in the nursery asked, ‘why does this baby look so puffy?’” Baizer said.
Prompt action by a hospital neonatologist brought down the infant’s glucose levels gradually, and raised the sodium levels that had become vastly depleted.
“But her brain had already been injured,” Baizer said.
Today the girl’s triplet brothers are functioning normally, Baizer said, but Rachel displays ongoing developmental delays that cause her to need special education classes.
The hospital released a brief statement addressing the case early Monday afternoon.
“This was an extremely unfortunate incident of medical error, which we deeply regret. It was an isolated incident,” the statement read. “We have continued our dedication and focus on improving the quality of care we deliver to all of our patients. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Rachel Cooper and her family.”
Both parties will return to court Jan. 9 for a status update, according to the court clerk’s office. Baizer said the appearance is designed to establish that an appropriate estate has been set up in Kendall County. The funds are intended to be used for any medical expenses Rachel has going forward, and any future impact the incident may have on her earnings potential.
“She’s going to be well taken care of, for sure,” Baizer said.