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May 22, 2008 - Brain Injury Yields $15.35 Million Settlement

A $15.35 million medical malpractice settlement was reached on Tuesday on behalf of an infant who suffered a brain injury during birth.

In October of 2001, Vanessa Jenkins, 19, was admitted to Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich, Ill., to give birth to her son, Cody Smithey. Cody was injured when a doctor used a vacuum extractor device to aid in the delivery.

The extraction device was used 18 times over the course of 50 minutes without success. Another doctor was called in to perform an emergency c-section after the boy’s fetal heart tones exhibited signs of distress. Cody, now 6, suffered brain injuries as a result of the doctor’s alleged negligence in using the vacuum extractor.

The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that the doctor was not competent in the use of the device. They also claimed that the doctor was negligent when he failed to discontinue using the extractor device after the first few unsuccessful attempts.

The plaintiffs further alleged that the nursing staff who assisted in the delivery, negligently failed to insist that the doctor stop using the device.

The plaintiffs claimed that Valley West Community Hospital was put on notice of the doctor’s incompetence in using the device when in 1999 the doctor settled another malpractice case involving the delivery of a child at the hospital where the doctor used a vacuum device and forceps. The child in that delivery died shortly after birth.

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