Circuit Court Jury Awards $2.4 Million To Family Of Boy Who Was Harmed At Birth

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Jan 03, 2011 in Cases Filed

By Bob Helbig

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury has awarded $2.4 million to a mother who suffered through 95 minutes of distressed labor and delivered a baby with mental retardation 12 years ago at St. Francis Hospital.

Ending a two-year lawsuit, lawyers for Karen and Jack Bonk of Milwaukee convinced a jury Tuesday that the couples son was born with mental retardation due to negligence. The jury ruled in favor or the Bonks after five weeks of testimony.

Donald Albrecht, a former chief of obstetrics at St. Francis, was found negligent for failing to provide proper care for Karen Bonk, whose son, Matthew, was born Nov. 3, 1979.

Karen Bonk, who was four weeks overdue when her son was born, suffered through 95 minutes of distressed labor while hospital officials waited for an anesthetist to come to the hospital from his home to help deliver the baby, according to testimony.

Albrecht was cited during testimony for not choosing to use a staff nurse to anesthetize Bonk.

Her son suffered from oxygen deprivation due to the delay, witnesses said. He has quadriplegia, cerebral palsy and mental retardation. His mental capacity is that of a 1-year old and his condition is not expected to improve.

The $2.4 million award will cover medical care, attendant care, loss of Matthews earning capacity and loss of his quality of life.

Albrecht, who retired from the hospital staff in 1986, had a distinguished career, said Charles Hausmann, who along with lawyer, Angela Dentice represented the Bonk family.

Appeal Possible

Albrecht will ask Circuit Judge Patricia Curley to set aside the verdict and may appeal the case.

The evidence was so powerful in this case that the baby was damaged long before the day of delivery, said lawyer Jim Gutglass, who represented Albrecht.

Gutglass will appear before Curley on Jan. 29 to file motions against the verdict.

Back to top