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

baby health, newborns


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nonmember avatar Yeah

Do I sound horrible when the first thing I thought was, well maybe it's for the better? Four months premature is...not a good thing. It seemed like a hopeless situation before the surgery. I feel for those parents.

SwePea SwePea

I understand having the hospital foot the funeral bill & medical costs but that's about it. I'd like to know what 8 million dollars is for exactly. I would feel wrong collecting anymore on my child's death.

nonmember avatar EmmaFrom√Čire

I'm with SwePea on this, what is all that money for? How is taking money from hospitals who sincerely need it going to help anybody? What if they desperately needed a new incubator for another sick baby, but having been sued for that much on a malpractice suit couldn't afford to save another child?

roseb... roseberrymatrix

I know where they're coming from, the money was nice, but I'd of rather had my daughter.

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

This is a sad case, but one with many aspects to ponder. I am heartbroken for these parents, I cannot begin to imagine what they are going through. However, in being in the health insurance industry - cases like this cause a HUGE problem for all of us. Please don't misinterpret me here, again I am not saying the hospital / doctor isn't at fault. But that money will not bring that child back. A settlement of that size WILL however have a damaging effect on healthcare. After taking a hit of that magnitude, doctors malpractice insurance premiums will skyrocket. This will affect thousands of good doctors and hospitals (who didn't make this mistake, had nothing to do with this case). Has anyone noticed that many doctors are not accepting ANY insurance/HMOs etc anymore? Skyrocketting malpractice premiums are behind it. This takes many good doctors and needed specialists out of reach for many of us who cannot afford to pay doctors bills out of pocket. There are more people in the losing column here than those directly involved in the suit. The only ones who win are the lawyers. Its a shame all around, my heart goes out to the family.

Kritika Kritika

I'm not a lawyer but I think the money is a penalty for the hospital so hopefully they won't make the same mistake. On the other hand it's also money to cover medical costs, mental health treatment if they need it which can be very expensive, and also money for them to live comfortably during this difficult time. I'd hate to lose my job because of my mental state and then have to worry about bills while dealing with the's really about comfort for those grieving when they SHOULDN'T have to be.

Kritika Kritika

I don't know how they get out of bed in the morning.

femal... femaleMIKE

When you take money away from an orgnaziation it hurts them.  This will force them to do a better job next time.

The board will push the directors to push the managers to push the employees to follow protocol so that htis doesn't happen to anyone.

Glide... Glider7522

I completely understand the points that HockeyMom is making.  I can't debate them.  They're true.  However, I think those are things that the personnel in the hospital should have been concerned with before becoming so relaxed in their procedures and decision making that they killed a child.  It is not the responsibility of the grieving parents to take one for the team in order to keep costs down.  Again, just my opinion.

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