A Chicago jury has awarded the family of Gizzell Ford, an 8-year-old girl who died at the hands of her abusive grandmother, $48 million after finding that the doctor who had seen Gizzell was medically negligent in his treatment of the child.
The jury only needed two hours to make their decision Wednesday. As the Chicago Tribune reports, in 2013 the physician, Dr. Norell Rosado, had seen Gizzell just weeks before she was found strangled and badly beaten in her grandmother’s trash-filled apartment. Helen Ford had regularly and systematically abused her granddaughter, beating her, denying her food and water, and tying her to the bed for days.
Helen Ford is currently serving a life term in prison.
Gizzell’s family filed the wrongful death suit, claming that Rosado had failed to notify authorities about possible signs of abuse. Rosado testified that he had found “nonspecific” and “nonsuspicious” bruises on Gizzell’s legs and rear that he said were not indicative of child abuse, the Tribune reports.
Gizzell had been taken to see Rosado because the Fords (her father’s side of the family) claimed that the man the girl’s mother, Sandra Mercado, was seeing was molesting the child.
But Gizzell’s family attorneys noted that, on a report, Rosado had indicated that he had found a “possible healing loop mark” on Gizzell’s buttock—a bruise they say is a common sign of child abuse. The attorneys also faulted Rosado for never following up with Gizzell about how she got her injuries.
Rosado’s attorneys defended their client by reminding jurors that at least half of all children who visit a physician will have some form of scratches or abrasions. They also highlighted Rosado’s storied, 17-year career as a children’s physician. According to the Tribune, Rosado conducted more than 3,000 child-abuse exams, testified in 40 criminal prosecutions against abusers, and trained more than 1,000 doctors.
The jury wasn’t convinced, agreeing with Mercado’s attorney, Martin Dolan.
“Dr. Rosado failed to save her. He didn’t advocate for her. He didn’t protect her that day,” Dolan told the jury in his closing arguments. “It was like a green light for Helen Ford to do what she was going to do in the following weeks.”
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.