Mother of Brain-Damaged Boy Wins $50M in Malpractice Suit

The 5-year-old cannot speak, walk or sit up on his own

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A jury awarded $101 million to the mother of a severely brain-damaged boy who sued a Chicago-area hospital for medical malpractice, but an agreement between the parties cut the amount to $50 million, a lawyer said Tuesday.

Attorneys told a Cook County jury that medical staff at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park ignored ultrasound results that indicated the unborn baby didn't move for six hours during labor in 2014.

Experts testified that a cesarean section would have prevented Gerald Sallis' brain damage. The 5-year-old cannot speak, walk or sit up on his own. The hospital was accused of ignoring Tequila Sallis' concerns that she couldn't feel him move.

"To see this young child now suffer every minute of every day when he should be playing on a playground in kindergarten is a terrible thing," said Sarah King, an attorney for the family.

Before the verdict this week, both sides agreed to cap an award at $50 million if the verdict exceeded $50 million, said Keith Hebeisen, another family lawyer.

In return, Tenet Healthcare, which owned the hospital when Gerald was born, won't appeal and the case will end, Hebeisen said.

"While we believe the care provided under the circumstances was appropriate, all parties agreed to a settlement prior to the verdict that will support this patient" and the family, Tenet said in a statement.

West Suburban Medical now has a different owner. 

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