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Couple files wrongful death suit over son's death

A couple from Chicago is suing a hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois for the wrongful death of their newborn son. According to the wrongful death lawsuit the hospital staff negligently provided the couple's 6-week-old son an intravenous bag containing about 60 times the dose of sodium prescribed by the attending physician. The young baby died one month and nine days after he was born prematurely at the hospital. Prior to the incorrect administration of sodium, the infant was making good progress.

Genesis Burkett was born last September and was born very premature. The infant was delivered at 24 weeks and weighed just one pound, eight ounces at birth. The young baby also had a heart condition and was fed by IV tubes. His mother and father said their young boy was making good progress before a series of preventable medical mistakes caused their son's death. Forty days after he was born, Genesis died of hypernatremia or excessive sodium.

According to the wrongful death suit, a technician at the hospital filled the infant's prescription for an IV with the wrong amount of sodium chloride. The initial label on the bag reflected the wrong prescription of sodium but the label was later covered up with a second inaccurate label. After the IV was administered to the baby, blood tests showed high levels of sodium but medical staff believed the test results were wrong and asked for another round of testing. The second blood test was never performed according to the suit.

A hospital spokesperson admitted to the hospital error explaining that an incorrect amount of sodium was in the infant's IV solution. The couple previously experienced failed pregnancies that resulted in miscarriages and say their 6-month old should be at home with them.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Lawsuit says Park Ridge hospital's negligence caused baby's death," Kim Janssen, 4/6/11

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