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G&E Wins Jury Trial in Wrongful Death Suit Against The University of Chicago Medical Center

G&E Wins Jury Trial in Wrongful Death Suit Against The University of Chicago Medical Center

Jury finds hospital liable for over $14 million in damages for death of four-year-old born with brain damage; Grant & Eisenhofer Birth Injury Litigation practice group attorneys led trial team

Chicago, IL (March 12, 2024) – Leading plaintiffs’ law firm Grant & Eisenhofer won a jury verdict of over $14 million against The University of Chicago Medical Center, in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of a boy who was born at UCMC with catastrophic brain damage.

Following a three-week trial before Hon. James Varga in Cook County Circuit Court (Illinois), a 12-person jury found UCMC liable for the death of four-and-a-half-year-old Oluwasemilore “Praise” Oyedapo. The unanimous verdict was handed down this past Friday, March 8, following 2.5 hours of deliberation.

Grant & Eisenhofer represented Praise’s mother, Omotola Oyedapo, who was 33-weeks pregnant when she was brought by ambulance to UCMC on July 9, 2016. Prior to Omotola’s 4:49 a.m. arrival at UCMC’s emergency department, her blood pressure was very low and she began reporting severe abdominal pain. The ambulance paramedic, recognizing an obstetric emergency, called UCMC to report her condition during the seven-minute drive to UCMC.

UCMC, despite receiving the pre-notification call, did not alert an obstetrician nor did it prepare equipment to immediately check the fetal heartrate. Even once Omotola was at UCMC, the emergency department doctors and nurses did not check the fetal heartrate until 5:22 a.m., 40 minutes after being made aware of an incoming obstetric emergency. When checked, baby Praise’s heartrate was in the 70’s (normal is 110 to 160 b.p.m.), and he required emergency delivery. However, UCMC still did not attempt to contact an obstetrician for another 10 minutes and did not move Omotola to the Labor & Delivery department until 5:40 a.m. Praise was then emergently delivered by C-section at 5:55 a.m., an hour after arriving at UCMC.

Praise was profoundly depressed at birth and required extensive resuscitation. He survived, but with severe neurological brain injuries which rendered him blind, with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, unable to communicate, and fully dependent for all activities of daily living. Praise lived in that condition until 2020, when he died from his neurological injuries.

Grant & Eisenhofer’s trial team argued that the negligence in the emergency department delayed Praise’s delivery for more than half an hour, causing the severe injuries and ultimately death.

Lisa Weinstein, who heads Grant & Eisenhofer’s Birth Injury Litigation practice, noted: “The Oyedapo family has endured so much anguish and suffering over this horrific tragedy that could have been avoided if not for negligence. We are thankful the jury recognized the truth which the family deserves and Praise deserves. May he now rest in peace.”

Ms. Weinstein continued: “The issues of liability and damage were hotly contested at trial by the defense. The defendant’s causation experts based their opinions on the timing of Praise’s catastrophic brain injury almost entirely on there being a significant bleed from a placental abruption at home before Omotola arrived at the hospital. When our trial team was able to demonstrate there was no evidence of that bleed until after Omotola was already at University of Chicago’s emergency room, the jurors rejected the defense’s causation theory. It was a total team effort to clearly explain difficult medical issues to the jury.”

Attorneys of Grant & Eisenhofer’s Birth Injury Litigation practice group led the trial team. The firm’s lead trial attorney was senior counsel Charles Bletsas, second chair was associate William Moore, and additional trial team members included Ms. Weinstein, partner Ed Aucoin and associate Caitlin Doermer.

Total damages the jury awarded to Praise’s estate amounted to $14,086,548.76. The amount is comprised of $3 million awarded for disfigurement resulting from the injury; $3 million for loss of normal life experience; $400,000 for pain and suffering experienced as a result of the injuries; $400,000 for emotional distress; $283,052.26 for medical care, treatment and services; $4.5 million for grief, sorrow and mental suffering; $2.5 million for loss of society; and $3,496.50 for funeral and burial expenses.

Grant & Eisenhofer’s Birth Injury Litigation attorneys represent children and families who often face a lifetime of care as a result of catastrophic birth injuries arising from alleged hospital and healthcare provider negligence, such as Cerebral Palsy, HIE, Perinatal Arterial Ischemic Strokes, Erb's Palsy and others.

The case is captioned: Olusoji Oyedapo, as Independent Administrator of the Estate of Oluwasemilore Praise Oyedapo v. The University of Chicago Medical Center d/b/a UChicago Medicine, 20 L 13797.

Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We represent families nationwide and have offices in Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, New York NY, and Wilmington DE.