A jury awarded a record $5.2 million to a woman who was told she had had a miscarriage only to realize later the baby was alive — but ultimately did not survive.
Grace Orozco, 40, of Berwyn, had a positive pregnancy test on Oct. 29, 2015, which was a surprise because two years earlier she had a sterilization device implanted in her fallopian tubes, according to her attorney, Bradley M. Cosgrove, a partner at Clifford Law Offices.
Two weeks later, Dr. Shamim Patel performed a first-trimester ultrasound at her office in Woodridge, after which she told the mother the baby did not have a heartbeat and she had miscarried.
A procedure to remove the unborn baby was scheduled for six days later at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital.
Patel testified that during the procedure something did not feel right, which caused her to call in an ultrasonographer for guidance.
The ultrasonographer discovered a fetal heartbeat, so the procedure was halted.
The mother experienced a spontaneous rupture of membranes about three weeks later due to a uterine infection caused by the procedure, Cosgrove said.
Cosgrove argued that Patel negligently diagnosed the pregnancy as a miscarriage because during the initial ultrasound she measured the umbilical cord and not the fetus.
Patel and her practice, Adventist Health Partners, were defendants in the case. The two-week trial at the Daley Center ended Tuesday with a jury decision after two hours of deliberation.
“The jury got it right, and I am so happy this has provided the closure my family needs in order to move forward in life,” Orozco, who has two children, said in a statement shared by Cosgrove.
“Grace’s ultimate wish is that the doctor would have made a correct diagnosis and that she would have just celebrated her seventh Fourth of July with her son,” Cosgrove said.
An attorney representing Patel said “Adventist Health Partners cannot comment on the verdict at this time because the case is continuing with post trial proceedings.”
The $5.2 million award is the highest reported in Illinois for a miscarriage case, according to Jury Verdict Reporter, a publication that tracks jury awards.