Federal government on hook for $9M after mother, baby deaths in Chicago hospital

A federal judge signed off on a jury verdict this week, awarding $9 million to a man whose wife and baby died at Chicago-based Norwegian-American Hospital more than six years ago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

On the night of Feb. 26, 2010, Lashon Bilbro-Beverly, who was 32 weeks pregnant, went to the emergency room of Norwegian-American complaining of shortness of breath. Her physician, Ramon Barajas, MD, diagnosed her with pneumonia, but she was never admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit.

The next morning, Ms. Bilbro-Beverly's condition had worsened, but she remained in her regular hospital room. After repeated complaints from Ms. Bilbro-Beverly, a nurse unsuccessfully attempted to reach Dr. Barajas by phone.

At 9:45 p.m., about one hour after the nurse's last attempt to contact Dr. Barajas, Ms. Bilbro-Beverly was found unresponsive in her room. She was declared dead at 11:00 p.m. Shortly thereafter, her baby boy was delivered stillborn by C-section.

Ms. Bilbro-Beverly's husband, Eric Beverly, filed a lawsuit alleging that the deaths were caused by the negligence of the hospital, Dr. Barajas and the nurse. The lawsuit ended up in federal court because the three main defendants all "tried to put the blame on each other," Mr. Beverly's lawyer Kevin Burke told the Tribune.

The $9 million payout to Mr. Beverly will be covered by the federal government, as Erie Family Health Center in Chicago, where Dr. Barajas was employed, is a federally subsidized facility, according to the report.

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