Chicago – March 14, 1991
Northside Hospital will pay $22.8 million to a boy severely injured in a circumcision accident at the hospital nearly six years ago, attorneys for the child said.
The child, who is now 5, had his penis severely burned in the mishap in August 1985. His attorneys said he will never be able to function sexually as a normal male and will require extensive reconstructive surgery and psychological counseling as well as lifelong urological care and treatment by infectious disease specialists.
A second infant who underwent a circumcision at Northside on the same day also was severely injured. That child, known as ”Baby Doe,” underwent a sex- change operation shortly after the accident, and ”consequently is now a female, who has been rendered sterile and completely incapable of reproduction,” said a lawsuit filed in the child`s behalf.
That lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount, Northside officials said.
Thomas G. Sampson, attorney for the first child, named Antonio, said Monday that Northside has agreed to pay the child and his parents $22.8 million in several installments over the next several years. However, Northside spokeswoman Karen Koch denied that a final settlement had been reached and declined to comment further.
Sampson said he did not know why Northside has denied that the case had been settled. ”It`s settled, I can guarantee you that,” said Sampson, who added that the settlement was approved Friday in DeKalb County Probate Court. The parents of the child already had settled with the doctor who performed the circumcision, and Sampson said the total amount of money in the case is in excess of $23.8 million.
The circumcision occurred at the hospital on the day the boy was born. Sampson and fellow attorneys alleged violations of hospital protocol and the use of inappropriate equipment for the circumcision.
The hospital`s usual equipment for circumcisions was out of service the day the infants were born, and doctors instead used an electrosurgical unit
”that was contraindicated for use” in infant circumcisions, the lawsuit alleged.
Antonio already has undergone several operations, and a series of reconstructive operations, now under way, are expected to continue for at least nine years, until he is 15, his attorneys said.
The circumcision injuries attracted nationwide attention, and prompted new studies to determine the benefits and disadvantages of circumcision.