On Tuesday, May 29, 2001, a Cook County Jury awarded a four-year old Algonquin boy 13.3 Million Dollars for injuries he suffered to his left shoulder and arm at the time of his birth. Matthew Skonieczny, a minor, through his parents Michael and Lorie Skonieczny of Algonquin, Illinois alleged that their Obstetrician, Dr. Philip Gardner improperly used excessive traction to Matthew’s head when his shoulders got stuck during delivery on July 22, 1997 at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights , Illinois. The family also alleged, through their attorneys, Michael P. Schostok and Patrick A. Salvi of the law firm Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., that the nurses at the hospital inappropriately pushed down on the top of the mother’s stomach during delivery when the baby’s shoulders were stuck. The jury awarded 13.3 million dollars for the child’s injuries which included his inability to ever be able to use his left shoulder and arm and because of the strong possibility that he would suffer pain from arthritis in the future due to the severity of his injury.
According to the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter which keeps track of all Personal Injury Settlements and Jury Verdicts, this is the largest verdict in history for an injury of this type. “Hopefully this award will help take care of Matthew in the future for his significant disability and will remind doctors and nurses they have to be very careful when delivering infants who’s shoulders get stuck which is also known as shoulder dystocia,” said Michael Schostok and Patrick Salvi.