Evanston, Ill.-based NorthShore University HealthSystem and one of its former obstetrician-gynecologists will pay $35 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the physician was negligent when delivering a baby, The Chicago Tribune reported April 10.
The family of the child — who is now seven years old — alleged that the negligent delivery of their daughter resulted in injury and cerebral palsy, according to court documents.
The physician defendant in the case is Ortega Fabio, MD, who pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two former patients in 2021 and faces about two dozen civil suits alleging he sexually assaulted patients, according to The Tribune. Dr. Ortega’s Illinois medical license was suspended in 2018 and later revoked.
In the negligence case, the girl’s mother — who was pregnant with twins — went to NorthShore’s Evanston Hospital after experiencing vaginal bleeding when she was 27 weeks pregnant, according to the report. Physicians put her on bed rest in hopes of giving the twins more time to develop. The pregnancy was considered high risk because the mother was carrying twins and had placenta previa — when the placenta covers the opening in the mother’s cervix.
Within 10 days after being admitted to the hospital, the mother’s membranes ruptured and she began having contractions, according to the report. Dr. Ortega saw her before 11 a.m. the day after the incident and left the hospital to see other patients in his clinic, according to an attorney for the family.
Around 9 p.m. that evening, about an hour after another physician recommended a cesarean section, Dr. Ortega returned and supervised a resident performing the procedure, which began at about 9:40 p.m., according to the report.
Court documents indicated that it took 5 minutes to deliver the first twin, but the second twin was not delivered until 14 minutes after one of two incisions were made. Babies should be delivered within 1 to 3 minutes after the first incision, and the family alleged that their child was injured as a result of the negligence and decisions made during labor and delivery. according to the report.
“We are committed to providing care at the highest standards of quality, safety and engagement for all of our patients,” a spokesperson for NorthShore said in a statement shared with Becker’s. “Out of respect for patient privacy and in compliance with applicable laws, we are unable to discuss the details of this case.”