Single mother wins $50 million in medical malpractice case

Boy born with serious brain damage after hospital did not perform emergency c-section

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

A Cook County jury awarded $101 million to 29-year-old single mother Tequila Snow Nov. 5 in a medical malpractice lawsuit against West Suburban Medical Center. However, Snow will receive just under half that, because the involved parties had reached an agreement to cap the amount prior to the verdict. The Associated Press reports Snow will receive $50 million.

Snow's son Gerald Sallis Jr. was born in 2014 with profound brain damage after a lawyer for the family said the hospital staff at West Suburban Medical Center did not perform an immediate cesarean section on Snow, despite test results indicating that the unborn child was not moving.  Keith Hebeisen of Clifford Law was one of four attorneys representing Snow.

"After five very long years, I am relieved that the lawsuit on behalf of my son is finally over," Snow said in a statement.

Gerald Sallis cannot walk, speak or feed himself and requires round the clock care, which his mother can now provide.

Tenet Healthcare, which owned West Suburban at the time Gerald was born, said in a statement, "While we believe the care provided under the circumstances was appropriate, all parties agreed to a settlement prior to the verdict that will support this patient and her family."

West Suburban Hospital is now owned by Pipeline Health.

According to Hebeisen, Gerald was living temporarily at Misericordia, a care community for people with developmental disabilities, where he has been receiving excellent care.

"It's a great place, but it's no substitute for mom," said Hebeisen.

Snow, a former certified nursing assistant, couldn't provide constant care for her son and still be able to support the family financially.

"It broke her heart to have to put him there, but it's such a great place, so she can live with it as a temporary thing," Hebeisen said.

With the money awarded to her, Snow can now fully provide the care her son needs.

"She was very overwhelmed when the verdict came back," Hebeisen said. "She is going to be able to fulfill her wish of having Gerald back home. She fought very hard to be able to bring Gerald home."

Gerald, a sweet and good-natured boy, is Snow's first and only child. 

"He's the happiest when his mom is around," said Hebeisen. "He lights up like crazy when his mom is around."

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Reader Comments

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Alan Peres  

Posted: November 15th, 2019 2:27 AM

David Read the article. Tenet is responsible, not Pipeline. And it is not a fine but a court verdict modified by a settlement.

David Rechs  

Posted: November 14th, 2019 6:32 PM

As a former employee of WSMC, I'm curious as to whether the fine is payable by the current owners, or by the owners at the time? Someone will mention insurance, and it may apply, but it still could be a different insurer now than it was then. I'm guessing that the hospital is self-insured, through the "holding company".

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