Cook County

Parents of Girl With Brain Damage Sue Presence Saint Joseph Hospital For $23M

The Whitens sued Presence St. Joseph Hospital after Amirah was born in 2014.

At 4 years old, Amirah Whiten is facing a lifetime of challenges.

Now her parents say they will be able to care for their severely brain damaged daughter thanks to a $23 million verdict from a Cook County jury.

"I’m glad the jury decided the way that they did," Edward Whiten, Amirah's father, said. "I am glad that we got our day in court and I am glad that we got a few more answers. Now this is just a means of her having some semblance of a life."

The Whitens sued Presence St. Joseph Hospital after Amirah was born in 2014.

They say they came to the Gold Coast hospital when the unborn baby was in distress but were forced to wait.

Instead of seeing the neonatologist on duty, her lawyers say they saw only residents, then there was an over three-hour delay for the emergency c-section.

Amiirah suffered severe brain damage from a lack of oxygen, attorney Geoffrey Fieger said.

"Had she been born within three hours, none of this would have happened," Fieger said. "But they waited until it was too late. The too late time came when the baby’s heart gave out."

Marquita Whiten, Amiirah's mother, says there are days where her daughter can't talk.

"We cant understand what she is saying. There are days she forgets to go potty," Whiten said. "Then there are days we are constantly telling her to go and she poops on herself."

The verdict, while at first glance large, will be necessary over the course of what could be a long life.

"All of this… all of this tragedy. Its not just the money that’s going to cost the hospital," Fieger said. "It’s the loss of a person who could have been a really productive and functioning member of our society."

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