Hospital's Mistake Kills Newborn & All the Money in the World Won't Fix It

IV bagSome people would call an $8.25 million settlement in a lawsuit incredibly good news. After all, the money a court has awarded Fritzie and Cameron Burkett is the most ever in Illinois history. But considering the Burketts got the cash from a hospital where their baby boy died, I'm having a hard time putting this one in the "win" column.


Little Genesis Burkett was born four months premature at just 1 pound, 8 ounces. But he was apparently a fighter. He'd sailed right through heart surgery, and then horror struck.

The Burketts' son was administered 60 times the amount of sodium choloride than he should have had in his IV drip. At 40 days old, Genesis died at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

Sorry, folks, but $8.25 million doesn't begin to make up for that. I understand why the Burketts sued; this is not a judgment on them. They have been able to demand that the hospital change its practices to ensure that no other parent suffers the awful blow of losing a child because of a stupid mistake. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's what many people who file medical malpractice suits are shooting for.

But if there was ever a case that screams "look, oodles of money doesn't fix everything," this is it folks. This is proof that $8.25 million is about as worthless as a piece of paper to a mom and dad who are grieving. As the couple's attorney told one reporter:

They function. They work. They cry at the drop of a hat when they see small children or a pregnant lady.

The Burketts still lost their son. After 40 days of feeling like he might actually make it and clinging to hope. They are still suffering the worst trauma any parent can imagine. They didn't win anything. They simply didn't lose more.

Would you sue if your child died at a hospital? Why (or why not)?


Image via Ano.Lob @healthyrx/Flickr

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