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Birth Injury Lawsuit Claims Child’s Cerebral Palsy Due to Doctor’s Negligence

An Illinois birth injury case claims that a child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice. Christian Ortega was born January 17, 2011 at the Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago. Although a fetal monitor showed the fetus was suffering from hypoxic stress, the attending physician failed to take proper action, thereby causing a brain injury, according to the lawsuit.

A heart monitor appeared to show that the fetus’ heart rate was normal, prompting the doctor to deliver the baby vaginally, rather than performing an emergency Caesarean section. After delivery, it was discovered that the heart monitor had been showing the heart rate of the mother, not the fetus. Christian was found to have suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Christian now has cerebral palsy as a result of the brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation. His parents filed the medical malpractice lawsuit in state court on November 22, 2011, and it was later removed to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The lawsuit alleges that the ob/gyns made several mistakes, causing Christian’s injuries. These include misreading the heart monitor, improper monitoring during labor, using vacuum extraction and Pitocin during delivery, and the failure to conduct an emergency C-section.

The birth injury attorneys representing Christian’s parents claim that if medical professionals had acted appropriately, the child would not be suffering today. Instead, his brain injury and cerebral palsy have caused severe developmental disabilities. The parents are seeking damages for the child’s ongoing medical care.

Contact a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago birth injury attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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Illinois House Votes Unanimously to Outsource Workers Compensation

On May 30, the Illinois House passed legislation on a unanimous vote to outsource the state’s workers’ compensation system. The bill, HB 2958, would require the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to contract with private companies for management of state workers’ compensation claims.

Barbara Flynn Currie, the House Majority Leader, said that the bill was in response to a the recent audit of the workers’ compensation system. House Speaker Michael Madigan had requested the legislation. Madigan called for privatization of the system even before the critical audit was released, saying that his own staff had studied the issue and found a substantial gap between the rate of claims by state workers and those by workers in the private sector.

The audit, by Auditor General William Holland, said that the system pays claims by injured state workers too readily, sometimes without proper medical evidence, and occasionally even making payments that the injured worker did not request. Holland’s report found that claims adjusters were overworked, and that arbitrators lacked guidelines for deciding cases, resulting in widely varying awards to different workers for the same injuries.

The proposed law is opposed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents many state workers. The union said that CMS already has the ability to outsource the administration of workers’ compensation, and the mandate that would be created by the proposed law is unnecessary.

The legislation will now go to the Illinois Senate.

To learn more, contact a Chicago workers compensation lawyer and Chicago construction accident attorney at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg.

Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Street Sweeper Crash

A husband, wife and their teenage daughter all died due to a collision with a street sweeping vehicle last month in suburban Orland Park. The accident took place near 171st Street and LaGrange Road. Now relatives have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that hired the driver.

Police say the person driving a street sweeper hit a car holding the Deis family. The victims of the collision include Samah Deis, 15, and her parents, Wafieh and Nazmi Deis, 49 and 62 respectively, from Tinley Park. The couple’s daughter, who is 24 years old, was the only person to survive the crash. The older daughter has been so upset by the loss of her family members that she has not driven a car since, according to other family members. The fifteen-year-old daughter had planned to become a doctor to serve her community.

Reportedly, an eye witness said the driver of the street sweeper ran a red light and then hit the family when they were in their Toyota Camry. The driver was cited for disobeying a red light and his blood is being tested for drugs and alcohol, though police said the driver did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Midwest Maintenance Systems, the company that owns the street sweeping vehicle. The surviving family members say the suit is not about money, but about justice.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago wrongful death attorney and Chicago wrongful death lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Most States Fail to Properly Discipline Negligent Physicians, According to Public Citizen

Most states are not fulfilling their obligation to provide protection to patients from doctors who practice sub-standard medicine, partly because of cuts in state budgets, according to an annual ranking of state medical boards by the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen.

When medical boards do not discipline negligent doctors, they are not carrying out their mission to protect patients. There were 3.06 serious actions taken by medical boards in 2011 for every 1,000 physicians. This rate is down about eighteen percent, compared with the rate in 2004. One of the major causes of the decline is state budget problems. Simply put, shrinking financial resources mean less support for medical boards.

According to Public Citizen’s research, some of the worst states are South Carolina, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Nevada, and New Jersey.

Wyoming was the best at disciplining physicians with 6.79 serious actions taken for each 1,000 doctors. This rate is five times higher than South Carolina’s. In addition to Wyoming, some of the highest discipline rates are in Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware, New Mexico, Alaska, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington, according to Public Citizen’s research.

Of course, it is important to know how well funded and effective one’s state medical board is, but patients must also make careful decisions when selecting a doctor. Today, because of the vast amounts of information available on the Internet, it is possible to do careful research into a doctor’s background before selecting him or her as your doctor.

It is an important public health protection for state medical boards to discipline negligent doctors when necessary, and to have those interactions carefully documented, so the public can find the records. Patients can also take advantage of websites with user-generated content posted by individuals who have reported on their direct experience with various physicians. Having a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney can also be an advantage when someone has suffered as a result of medical negligence.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

When Determining Prescription Dosages for Children, Many Doctors Simply Guess

A new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that when children need certain prescription medicine, such as anesthetics, statins, morphine, or prednisone for asthma, doctors sometimes have to guess the dosage based on the child’s weight.

The reason doctors must estimate the dosage is that approximately half of the prescription medications typically administered to children have no information about proper pediatric doses printed on their labels.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers studied 461 drugs listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference and found only 231 had enough information matched to them that would be effective in guiding physicians to give the proper dose to children. For 105 new drugs approved by the FDA from 2002 to 2008, only 43 included adequate information on dosages for children. For newborns, the situation is even worse, with about ninety percent of drugs having never been tested for use in infants.

When doctors prescribe medications, they sometimes guess based on the child’s weight, but children’s organs can function differently from those of adults. Medication errors cause many health problems and even deaths each year. Even when there is no error, adverse reactions to medications cause about 100,000 deaths each year.

While the problem is still severe, the overall situation is actually better now than in years past. The Pediatric Research Equity Act, which was passed in 2003 and reauthorized in 2007, makes it possible for the FDA to require additional testing on drugs that could be used extensively on children.

Also, the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act extended a provision from a previous regulation, which allows pharmaceutical companies that conduct tests for pediatric medications an extra six months of market exclusivity. The goal of allowing this extra six months was to provide a financial incentive to those pharmaceutical companies who were doing pediatric drug testing, to help prevent medication errors and adverse medication reactions in children. Nevertheless, more progress is needed toward appropriate administration of pediatric drugs.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Flame Retardants May Be a Danger to Human Health

Between 1970 and 2004, levels of some flame retardants in the blood of American adults doubled every two to five years. American babies are born with some of the highest levels for all infants in the world. According to a UC-Berkeley public health study, babies exposed to flame retardants in the womb have lower birth weights.

The weight decrease found by the study to be associated with flame retardants was close to the weight decrease caused by mothers who smoke during pregnancy. While most of the babies studied weighed more than 5.5 pounds, and therefore were not considered low birth weight babies, their decreased weight could put them at greater risk of being underweight.
Low birth weight babies can have greater challenges with cognitive and social development.

Flame retardants are found in baby products, foam furniture, carpet padding, electronics and other common household items. Flame retardants are in so many everyday products that they can now be found in household dust. Even dogs and cats have tested positive for this type of chemical.

A National Health Institutes director said the greatest concern with flame retardants is their impact on developmental and reproductive potential. Exposure in early childhood is of particular concern. Some very young children may be exposed to flame retardants over long periods of time and this exposure could interfere with their brain development. Researchers also believe these chemicals could be associated with some types of cancer.

Defenders of flame retardants say they save lives by delaying ignition of flammable materials. This delay of a number of seconds could allow a person to get out of a burning room filling with smoke and therefore survive, instead of being engulfed in fumes and smoke, passing out, and dying in a fire.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago product liability lawyer and Chicago personal injury attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

New Study Debunks Claims of Tort Reformers

Proponents of “tort reform” claim that “frivolous lawsuits” are out of control, with the latest target being medical malpractice lawsuits. In pushing for a cap on damages, these advocates have relied on a central premise: that when Texas passed such limits, thousands of doctors moved to the state. That claim has now been debunked by a new report.

Texas politicians like to cite statistics purportedly showing that doctors flocked to the state after the legislature passed a law limiting medical malpractice claims.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said that “[in the year preceding August 2011] 21,000 more physicians are practicing medicine in Texas because they know they can do what they love and not be sued.” said.

Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, decried the perceived problem of too many medical malpractice lawsuits, and touted his state’s solution, in an article in the National Review: “That’s why some states, including my home state of Texas, have enacted tort reform to limit the amount of damages that can be awarded for pain and suffering,” said Smith. “The result? More than 14,000 doctors have returned to Texas or set up new practices in the state. That means Texans pay less to have better health care and more options.”

The problem is that the claims are not true, as a new study has demonstrated.

Researchers from the University of Texas, University of Illinois, and Northwestern University recently published a paper entitled, “Does Tort Reform Affect Physician Supply? Evidence From Texas,” that debunks the claims of tort reformers.

The researchers analyzed two claims: whether there was a shortage of physicians prior to the passage of tort reform and whether there was an increase following the new law. They found no evidence of either.

“After tort reform was enacted, proponents claimed there had been a dramatic increase in physicians moving to Texas due to the improved liability climate,” the researchers said in their paper. “We find no evidence to support either claim. Physician supply was not measurably stunted prior to reform, and did not measurably improve after reform. This is true whether one looks at all patient care physicians in Texas or at high-malpractice-risk specialties.”

The authors of the study further stated that, “[t]here is no evidence that the number of physicians per capita practicing in Texas is larger than it would have been without tort reform.”

When politicians move to place limits on medical malpractice or other types of personal injury lawsuits, opponents have a clear argument: injured people deserve their day in court and full compensation for their injury. Until now, proponents of “tort reform” have been able to argue that placing caps on medical malpractice awards can attract qualified medical professionals, but it has now been completely debunked.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago personal injury attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Teen Drivers Create Special Risks in Auto Accidents

It may not surprise anyone to learn that teenage drivers are especially dangerous, primarily due to their inexperience. However, a new study by the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) safety foundation indicates that there are certain risk factors that greatly increase the danger when a teen is behind the wheel of a car.

The study shows that a key factor is who else is in the car. If there are other young people traveling as passengers, the risk goes up. The risks go down, however, if an older adult is in the car with the teen driver.

According to the report, “Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers,” the chances of a driver aged 16 to 17 suffering a fatality in an automobile accident increases with every additional young person in the car.1

The numbers are eye-opening: as compared to driving with no passengers, the risk of fatality increases by 44 percent when there is one passenger under21, in the car. With two young passengers, the risk doubles, and with three, it quadruples.

In contrast, if there is an older passenger present in the car, the risk is greatly reduced. The study found that a teenage motorist’s risk of death is reduced by 62 percent if one or more passengers aged 35 or older are present. In addition, the chance of being involved in any crash reported to the police is reduced by 46 percent.

Some states have adopted restrictions on the number of passengers for teenage drivers, and the number of teen traffic fatalities has decreased overall in recent years. But the problem is still significant.

AAA’s study analyzed data from 2006 to2010 in Illinois, which saw 273 fatal collisions involving a driver aged 16 or 17. Of those accidents, 52 percent occurred when there were one or more passengers under the age of 21 present in the automobile with the teen motorist. The number dropped to 8 percent when there was one or more passengers over the age of 21 present.

Beth Mosher, AAA Chicago’s director of public affairs, addressed the findings.

“We know that carrying young passengers is a huge risk, but it’s also a preventable one,” she said. “These findings should send a clear message to families that parents can make their teens safer immediately by refusing to allow them to get in the car with other young people, whether they’re behind the wheel or in the passenger seat.”

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago car accident lawyer and Chicago car accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Five Things to Remember at the Scene of a Chicago Car Accident

There are five critical things to remember after you’ve been in an accident:

1. Call the police. Even if the other party claims they do not want to involve the authorities, it is imperative that the police come and file a report about the accident. This report will be critical later in the process.

2. Do not admit fault. Even if you think the accident could have been your fault, say no such thing to the police, the other driver, an insurance company, or anyone else at the scene.

3. Seek medical care. It doesn’t matter if you think your aches and pains will go away. It is imperative that you get examined by a medical professional so that there is a record of the injuries you sustained in the accident. Also, your adrenaline may prevent you from immediately feeling the pain of your injuries which is why a thorough examination is important.

4. Gather evidence. Take some of your own pictures and get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. If you find evidence like skid marks, then take a picture of them with the camera on your phone.

5. Do not give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company before calling a Chicago car accident attorney. An attorney can help you determine if you have a claim for damages against the other party or parties in the accident.

Contact a Chicago car accident lawyer and Chicago car accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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The Chicago Illinois personal injury law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg represents injured people throughout Illinois, including Chicago, the Chicagoland area, Joliet, Waukegan, Cicero, Evanston, Arlington Heights, Wheaton, Bolingbrook, and Naperville, as well as other cities within Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Lake County and McHenry County.
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