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Court refuses to keep hospital negligence settlement sealed

The last months of a pregnancy can be the most stressful for an expectant mother whether she lives here in Illinois or elsewhere. As a woman approaches the birth, several things could go wrong. During this time, it is crucial that medical personnel monitor mother and baby closely. Otherwise, hospital negligence could cost the mother, the child or both their lives.

Recently, a medical malpractice claim was settled for $4.25 million. The defense requested that the court seal the details of the agreement, but the judge refused. He ruled that the public had the right to know despite the defense's contentions that doing so could discourage other doctors and hospitals from settling claims.

The Pennsylvania mother who was pregnant with twins claimed that hospital personnel failed to adequately monitor her for preeclampsia, which is characterized by protein in the urine, swelling of the hands and feet and high blood pressure. Sometime around 33.4 weeks' gestation, the woman had a seizure, and her placenta detached. On March 2, 2009, her twins were stillborn, and she filed a lawsuit in 2011. The doctors involved refused to agree to participate in the settlement and did not contribute to it.

Illinois residents who have lost children to hospital negligence more than likely understand the pain this mother has gone through. There is often the opportunity to settle the claim in order to avoid the public pain of going to trial, and many medical malpractice cases never make it to that point. However, each case if different, and no one is obligated to accept a settlement in lieu of going to trial.

Source: pennlive.com, "Huge $4.25 million medical malpractice settlement as Pa. mom loses twins", John Luciew, Aug. 26, 2016

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