Chicago Hospital Mistakenly Declares Boy Dead

Medical negligence comes in many forms and occurs in various circumstances, endangering the life of innocent patients. Wrongful death lawyers ensure that victims and their loved ones receive justice, and hold doctors and hospital staff accountable for their actions.

A serious incident of medical malpractice recently occurred at an Illinois hospital, where doctors mistakenly declared an 8-year old patient dead and robbed him of precious ventilator time.

The boy, who was a chronic brain damage patient, was admitted after suffering a cardiac arrest episode. The lawsuit filed by the boy’s parents alleges that doctors pronounced him dead and kept him off the ventilator even though the boy was apparently moving his body and eyes.

The boy’s parents said that at their request, hospital staff carried out a cardiac ultrasound almost five hours after he was declared dead. The ultrasound proved that the boy’s heart was actively beating. The lawsuit highlights the fact that even without medical tests it was clear to any observer that the boy was alive, since he was visibly moving some of his body parts, particularly his eyes.

The hospital, however, denies the allegations, saying that the boy was under full cardiac arrest for at least 25 minutes before doctors got a chance to treat him. The hospital claims that the resuscitation efforts did not bring about a pulse or heart activity for several hours. It claims that the boy’s movements were an extremely rare and unexpected occurrence that happens when the heart spontaneously starts functioning again.

The boy’s parents revealed that he was a victim of brain damage since the age of 2, a condition that left him frequently bedridden and on a ventilator. His condition worsened over the years and hospital visits were normal occurrences.

Initially, when the boy’s parents spotted him flicking his eyes open after being pronounced dead at the hospital, the staff explained it as the effects of a medicine administered earlier. During the five hours that elapsed, preparations were even made for the boy’s funeral, while some other relatives insisted that the boy was alive. It was under much insistence that hospital staff agreed to conduct more tests including the cardiac ultrasound, which proved that the boy was alive.

Those five hours were extremely distressing for the parents. The extensive length of time the boy was off the ventilator likely made his already frail condition weaker.

The lawsuit seeks severe emotional distress damages of $200,000. Experienced Illinois medical malpractice lawyers understand that this medical mistake not only may have caused serious emotional stress to the boy’s parents, it also resulted in serious medical consequences that affected his treatment.