CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County jury has handed down a record-breaking verdict against a hospital in Oak Park.
The verdict amounts to $101 million, and it will go to a family who sued for medical malpractice.
On Tuesday night, the mother in the case told CBS 2’s Jermont Terry why it will never be enough to replace her son’s quality of life.
Gerald Sallis has severe brain damage, and a jury found that nurses and staff at West Suburban Medical Center failed to monitor his mother when she came to the emergency room concerned about the baby she was carrying.
Little Gerald can crack a smile.
“He’s the bright light of everybody’s lives,” said his mother, Tequila Snow. “All he does is smile and laugh.”
But Gerald can’t utter a word, nor take a step, despite being 5 years old. A jury ruled that all those complications came from the negligent behavior of the staff at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park.
“I didn’t think the nurses and people who work at the hospitals didn’t care. I thought they that were there to save lives,” Snow said. “Instead, they ruined the wonderful family that I was looking forward.”
Back in 2014, when Snow arrived at the hospital 34 weeks pregnant, she said she told the nurses: “My baby isn’t moving as he normally does. Something isn’t right.”
The jury found the hospital staff failed to call a doctor and ignored the baby’s oxygen levels for six hours – causing Gerald to be born with brain damage.
He now requires 24-hour care.
“He just isn’t a normal person, and that was taken away from him,” Snow said.
Snow said with the $101 million verdict, she will now have the financial means finally to bring her son home.
“He is all I have, and I’m going now to let him know that he’s coming home very soon,” she said.
CBS 2 has learned that the nurse who failed to check up on Gerald’s mother is still working at the hospital, while the ultrasound tech retired.
In a statement, an attorney representing the company that owned the hospital at the time said: “We will not appeal. Although we are obviously disappointed with the jury’s verdict, we respect the will of the jury and wish the Sallis family well.”