Hospital Faces Lawsuit Following Infant’s Death

Updated 04/05/11 – 9:39 p.m.

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (WBBM) — Advocate Lutheran General Hospital has been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit after a premature infant was allegedly given more than 60 times the amount of sodium chloride as prescribed by the doctor.

The 5-week-old child died shortly thereafter.

“It’s hard to think about the plans that you made when it’s not gonna come true,” his mother, Fritzie Burkett said Tuesday, breaking down into tears.

She and her husband, Cameron Burkett, welcomed their son, Genesis, into the world prematurely in 2010 and he spent 40 days at Lutheran General.

“We saw the fight in him as a small child and I figured that would convey as he got older,” Cameron Burkett said.

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In their lawsuit, they allege Genesis’ doctor correctly ordered an IV nutrient bag for the newborn, but someone in the hospital mixed up the dosage.

The doctor ordered 14.7 milli-equivalents of sodium chloride. Patrick Salvi Sr., the attorney for the parents, sid the pharmacy instead filled the IV bag with 982 milli-equivalents.

Salvi said a test showed high levels of sodium chloride and a doctor asked for a repeat check.

“Unfortunately he didn’t say you better repeat it STAT, as doctors call it – right away. And it never got done,” Salvi said. “When you receive that much sodium, literally water is sucked out at a cellular level, eventually causing you to go into cardiac arrest.”

The baby boy had been receiving the wrong dosage for nearly 20 hours, according to Salvi. He died hours later October 2010 and his mother was there when he passed away.

“It was traumatic. It was like a nightmare and it felt unreal,” Fritzie Burkett.

Asked if she was angry at the people responsible, she said, “It’s not about anger, it’s more just hoping that … no other baby has to go and experience this again.”

The mistake happened in the hospital pharmacy, where an unknown technician entered the wrong amount into the machine that mixes IV solutions.

Doctors tried to save Genesis but nothing could be done.

“They couldn’t say anything. They were just trying to help him the best that they could. They didn’t know what was going on, they were completely confused and shocked,” his mother, Fritzie Burkett, said at a news conference at her attorney’s office.

Burkett family attorneys said the amount of sodium in the iv would have been lethal for an adult.

“It’s very hard just dealing with him passing anyway,” Genesis’ father, Cameron Burkett, said. “But to find that out was just, like, was just an extra amount of pain just to put to that situation.”

Lutheran General officials notified the family immediately after they determined what had taken place. In a statement on Tuesday, they said that Genesis “passed away after a hospital process error led to an incorrect concentration of sodium in his IV fluids. It was determined that a data entry error was made in the formulation of the IV solution.”

The hospital also said that steps have been taken at Lutheran General to insure this type of tragedy doesn’t happen again.

The tragedy was even tougher to take for the Burketts because Genesis would have been their first child and he was born after they suffered two miscarriages.

While the hospital admits to the error, Salvi says the emotional duress has been overwhelming.

The Chicago mother had fertility problems and had suffered two miscarriages.

“This was a very important pregnancy,” said Salvi.

“My office is firmly committed to obtaining substantial compensation for Fritzie and Cameron Burkett for the loss of their beautiful son and to do everything possible to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Luther General released a statement that said, in part: “Our prayers continue to be with the family of Genesis Emanuel Burkett as they mourn the loss of their son. Genesis was cared for in our neonatal intensive care unit for more than a month.”

  • Laura

    I am simply devastated at the loss for this family.

    • karen clark

      I am so sorry for your loss. I too have lost my first son at the age of 3 months.
      For Parents
      I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine. He said, for you to love the while he lives and morn for when he’s dead.
      It may be six or seven years or twenty two or three. but will you till I call him back take care of him for me.
      He’ll bring you all his charms to gladden you and shall his stay be brief. you’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
      I cannot promise he will stay since from all reath return. but there are lessons thaught down there I wandt this child to learn.
      I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true, and from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes I have selected you.
      Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again?
      I fancied that I heard them say – Dear lord thy will be done, for all the joy thy child shall bring, the risk of grief shall run.
      We’ll shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may. For all the happiness we’ve known forever grateful stay.
      But shall the angels call for him, much sooner then we’ve planned. We’ll brave bitter grief that comes and try to understand.
      Karen Clark

      • Taja


  • Amy

    God bless this family and this horrible loss. This is beyond sad because it could have been prevented.

    • iris

      Amen to that. Too sad

      • Sorry to for your loss

        I hope and pray this family can conceive another child and eventually go on with their lives. This child will never be forgotten. They do deserve this after this sad sad experience. I will keep Baby Genesis in my thoughts and prayers along with his Family. God Bless your family and I hope the hospital pays thru the nose for this error. This can not happen again to another poor innocent child.

  • Edward

    This is so scary….We go to he Hospital to seek help for our health but it seems that we can’t trust any health worker anymore. Poor baby….. Innocently killed by a MISTAKE. That’s a SHAME especially that it happened to a Magnate Hospital like Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

    • Jay

      Mistakes do happen in medicine. It’s a field that employs humans, and it’s bound to happen. It’s just in medicine, people’s lives are on the line rather than in other professions where mistakes usually don’t cost lives. It’s terrible that this happened, but in the grand scheme of things, health workers are very trustworthy people and should not be derided. On another note, it’s Magnet, and Magnet refers to nursing care, which had nothing to do with this mistake. Again, this is a terrible situation, but mistakes do happen. Health-care workers do much more good than bad.

      • DK

        Magnet is more than just nursing care, it is the whole hospital/healthcare facility. Nursing plays a vital role but give credit where it is due, to everyone in the facility – not just the nurse!

      • binny motes

        This wasn’t a mistake- this was TWO mistakes. First they gave the wrong dose- a dose that would kill an adult (are the technicians ignorant about what they’re dispensing?) and then they ignored a doctor’s request for a re-check. Any time sodium levels are high in an infant, it’s serious. That the doctor didn’t say “stat” is no excuse.

  • Stephanie Burkett

    Genesis was as amazing little baby. he was a fighter til the very end. He never failed to amaze the doctor at his progress. He is missed very much.

    • God Bless your family

      This just breaks my heart. So sad. He was a beautiful child and deserved much more than this. I can’t begin to imagine the pain your family has. May God Bless you all for you are in my thoughts and prayers.
      RIP Genesis you are missed by many.

  • Diane VanArsdale Yancey

    There is nothing harder than losing a child. This was so sad. They trusted them to take care of the baby, to protect him and help him to grow. To know an error killed him and that the error was undetected until after he died is heartbreaking.

  • Linda

    This is a terrible tragedy and I can’t imagine how sad everyone involved feels. Unfortunately, mistakes do occur in ALL jobs, but the difference is that they can be deadly sometimes in the medical field. My sister is a neonatal nurse and was obviously upset about this because she loves her job and all the babies she takes care of. She is a godmother to a few of the babies she’s taken care of because of the close and trusting relationship she built with the parents. All those nurses work very hard and love the babies….that is such a difficult job both physically and emotionally. My sister has been to several baby funerals and it never gets any easier. There are some babies who are not strong enough to survive and no matter what we do,it may not be enough. However, they have also helped and saved many, many babies who would have otherwise died without their care and treatment. I will keep this couple in my thoughts and hope that they can have another baby, but please don’t begrudge all the doctors, nurses, and technicians who love their job and strive to do their best everyday. Most of us have no idea how stressful those jobs are….it is not an excuse by any means, but no one goes to their job with the intention of hurting anyone.

  • Mary Minter

    I am a Grandmother and have been in the delivery room when most were born and I cant even imagine one of them not making it. My heart goes out to the parents.God Bless your Family.

  • Kici

    I knew Genesis would make an impact on this world and touch the hearts of many. I just wish it wouldn’t have to be this way. Our thoughts and prayers are with you guys. Find strength in God. Stand strong. We are behind you 100%.

  • alynn

    This is just too sad to read. Being 3 months pregnant with my second child — I just can’t imagine this happening. I feel for this family especially when they are trying so hard to have a baby. I hope in some way this can make them stronger. I am just at a loss for words, just too tragic. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • wardaine taylor

    Wardaine Moore- Taylor
    I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death/
    They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make.
    Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories.
    We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love..Genesis is still leaving his mark. Praying for your strength in this time of discovery. Trust in the Lord . love ya

  • kmyers1123

    truly tragic and more tragic that is was a mistake that took the life of such an innocent infant. i pray for you and your family that you can have peace in your hearts and be blessed with another baby. the name Genesis says to me the beginning. just the beginning of beautiful blessing in your life to come.

  • Impishbrat

    No words can make it better. I will pray for you all and my heart breaks for the baby.

  • Margaret

    Being the mother of twins who were NICU I know how uncertain every single day is uncertain. We depend on those doctors and nurses to take the best possible care. The are supposed to check and recheck before administering meds to make sure it is not wrong. I cannot even fathom losing a child. This hospital needs to be held responsible for this terrible tragedy. I hope the pharmacist was relieved of his position. Doesn’t sound like it was a doctor or nurse, but it could have or should have been caught before it was administered if double checks were done. My deepest sorrow goes out to these parents who have empty arms today.

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