Coles County jurors award $40 million to disabled teen in birth injury case

A Coles County jury awarded Kiera Campbell, 19, and her parents, Todd and Jaime Campbell, $40 million as compensation for the severely disabling injuries she suffered as a result of delayed delivery during childbirth.

Jurors reached the verdict after deliberating for just three hours following a three-week trial. They found that defendants Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon and a hospital nurse were culpable for Kiera’s injuries due to a delayed emergency C-section.

“This verdict is a great relief for our family,” said Todd Campbell. “We no longer have to worry about Kiera being taken care of if something happens to us. We would like to thank our legal team for telling our story, the judge for allowing our story to be told and the jury for their attention and time in hearing our story.”

Plaintiff attorney Miranda Soucie from Spiros Law PC collaborated with attorneys Mike Bonamarte, Seth Cardeli and Cari Silverman from Levin & Perconti to represent the Campbells.

The case was originally filed 15 years ago when Kiera was only four years old. The Campbells were offered a $3 million settlement, but chose to instead seek a jury trial. During the trial, the plaintiffs sought between $35 and $37 million. The jurors surpassed that when they awarded the Campbells $40 million, which is the largest medical malpractice award in Illinois outside of Cook County.

Specifically, the verdict includes $20 million for future disability, $5 million past disability, $750,000 for future emotional distress, $750,000 for past emotional distress, $500,000 for past pain and suffering, $5 million for future caretaking expenses, and $4 million for future lost earnings.

“This outcome demonstrates that communities across the nation, regardless of size or location, will not tolerate substandard healthcare,” Bonamarte said. “The jury awarded more than we requested in our closing argument, reflecting their belief in the extent of Kiera’s injuries and the need for just compensation.”

“We prosecuted this case for 15 years and persisted in rejecting the defense argument that Kiera wasn’t injured to the extent we said,” he added. “On the outside, Kiera looks like a normal 19-year-old but the damage to her brain has limited her potential. Physically, Kiera is high functioning. Cognitively, her executive functioning is significantly impaired. The verdict is just and reflective of the complete compensation that Kiera deserves for the harm that was done to her by the conduct of the defendants.”

During the trial, the Campbell family provided testimony recounting the challenges they have faced due to Kiera’s severe and permanent brain injuries.

Kiera was born in May 2003. Her mother, Jaime, was 40 weeks pregnant with Kiera when she began bleeding and suffering abdominal pain and cramping due to a placental abruption. When Jaime arrived at the hospital, a doctor was not called until the situation was dire.

Due to the delayed delivery, she suffered a seizure disorder, mild cerebral palsy and speech and developmental delays.

Kiera’s counsel reports that she has made “significant progress” through intensive therapy, but she continues to face cognitive and intellectual challenges.

Despite her challenges, Kiera was able to successfully graduate high school and secure a part-time job.

“The jurors recognized the potential Kiera might have had without these debilitating injuries and delivered a verdict that reflects their understanding of the preventable nature of her birth injuries,” Soucie said.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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