COLES COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A Coles County jury has awarded a record-breaking verdict to a family for medical malpractice after a 15-year battle in the courts with Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon.

The Campbell family, consisting of parents Todd and Jaime and their 19-year-old daughter Kiera, were awarded $40 million in damages on Thursday. It is the largest malpractice verdict in Coles County history and the largest in state history outside of Cook County.

The Campbells sued the hospital in 2007. They claimed that when Jaime was pregnant with Kiera five years earlier, the hospital staff and nurses delayed in calling a doctor to perform an emergency C-section when Jaime suffered a placental abruption. Kiera ultimately suffered severe and permanent brain damage during her birth.

The hospital offered $3 million at the time to settle the case, but the Campbells wanted their daughter to develop more and see how she progressed.

The case finally went to trial earlier this month, during which the Campbells’ lawyers asked for between $35 and $37 million. It took the jury only three hours of deliberation to determine that the injuries Kiera suffered were preventable. The jury subsequently increased the verdict to $40 million because of how hard-working Kiera is; despite numerous cognitive and intellectual disabilities, Kiera graduated from high school and has a part-time job.

“This verdict is a great relief for our family. We would like to thank our legal team for telling our story, the judge for allowing our story to be told and the jury for their attention and time in hearing our story,” Todd Campbell said. “We will never get what most people call normal, but we can finally put this behind us and move forward in securing our daughter’s future. We no longer have to worry about Kiera being taken care of if something ever happened to us.”

The Campbells’ attorney elaborated on that worry when speaking with our reporters.

“What was going to happen to her when her parents could no longer be there to support and walk alongside her, because they’re not going to be here forever,” Miranda Soucie said. “So, having the jury come back and render a verdict means that this family is going to be able to make sure their daughter is safe, that she is taken care of and that she is supported for the rest of her life.”

Sarah Bush Lincoln’s President and CEO Kim Uphoff responded to the verdict with the following statement:

There are no words to describe the level of our disappointment at the verdict and the devastation that is caused by egregious awards like this. The verdict does not reflect the facts of this case. We support our medical staff and clinical teams and stand by the care that was delivered.

Kim Uphoff

Uphoff further claimed that verdicts and awards of this size, which she called “nuclear” can be devastating to the region, with impacts on businesses, entire industries and communities.