Beth Israel to pay millions, found negligent in baby's death

The Suffolk Superior Court found a physician and nurse at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center--typically known for its renowned care--guilty of negligence in the death of a premature baby, reports the Salem News. The Boston Globe reports the parents are awarded $7 million, although the Boston Herald reports the Beth Israel is to pay the parents $11.4 million, which would be Massachusetts' largest jury award this year.

In 2004, parents Danielle and John Bellerose gave birth to twins. One of the babies, Katherine, died of necrotizing enterocolitis, a bowel infection that affects primarily premature babies.

The mother, Danielle Bellerose (a nurse) and her husband sued the hospital, claiming that the weekend staff didn't recognize the symptoms and reacted too late, partly attributed to understaffing.

"For me, it's not about the money. It's about accountability, responsibility and change," said Danielle Bellerose in the Salem News article. "... It's a huge relief for us that she didn't die for nothing. At least now, she can save other babies' lives by making doctors pay more attention and focus on potential problems."

Danielle said she recognized that something was wrong with her daughter and notified staff. She encourages other parents to engage in their children's care.

"Don't be afraid to ask questions (of medical staff). Don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion," she said. "If your gut is telling you something is wrong, go with it," she said in the article.

Other recent hospitals that have come under close patient safety scrutiny include Dallas's Parkland Memorial Hospital, as well as Methodist Dallas Medical Center, which both recently faced investigations for a variety of patient safety lapses.

For more information:
- read the Boston Globe article
- read the Boston Herald article
- read the Salem News article

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