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Clifford Law Offices Obtains $8.5 Million Settlement on Behalf of Newborn’s Mother Who Dies at Childbirth

Keith A. Hebeisen and Sarah F. King, attorneys at Clifford Law Offices, obtained an $8.5 million settlement on behalf of a mother who died after childbirth at Stroger Hospital following the medical team’s failure to recognize and treat signs and symptoms of ongoing bleeding from a placental abruption.

Leticia Lara, 38, died Nov. 28, 2013, following the delivery of her child. On the day of delivery, she had an increased heart rate and decreased blood pressure, classic signs of blood loss. Despite ongoing deterioration of both the mother and the baby, Mrs. Lara was instructed to continue pushing out her baby. Following profuse bleeding for over an hour, Mrs. Lara was finally given blood transfusions. The baby lived but Mrs. Lara passed away in the ICU the next day.

Mrs. Lara is survived by her three children and her husband. Stroger Hospital paid $7 million of the total settlement. The Cook County Board approved the settlement May 14. Another Chicagoland hospital was a defendant in the matter and paid $1.5 million.

“Maternal morbidity in the United States and in the state of Illinois is a problem,” King said. “The civil justice system is part of the solution. Investigating the cause of death and identifying what went wrong helps to protect moms. The reality is that a majority of these deaths, like Ms. Lara’s, are 100 percent preventable. Hopefully this settlement will bring some closure to this beautiful family and shed further light on systemic failures that are costing mother’s lives.”

The case was settled by mediation with Judge Keith Brown (ret.) of ADR. The case was set for trial before Judge Lorna Propes of the Cook County Circuit Court. Judge Propes approved the settlement on May 28, just three days before the Daley Center trial was to begin. The settlement was approved in probate court June 7 by Judge Terrence McGuire.

Court Number: 15 L 11937

For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).

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