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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - As shown in their online documentary, Tim and Regina Gort's life, while fulfilling, is an exhausting daily challenge.
The couple is raising three young daughters. Two have special needs. The oldest, 9-year-old Gwen, was born with cerebral palsy. Middle child Violet, 3, is healthy.
Eliza, now 2, was born healthy but suffered brain damage after what the Gorts say was an admitted medical mistake by Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Now, the family is suing Spectrum Health, which owns the children's hospital, in an effort to get continuing care for their daughter. The suit was recently filed in Kent County Circuit Court.
WATCH: The online documentary "The House of Gort" courtesy Stale Fish Production:
The Gorts say Eliza's condition was caused during prep for a blood exchange transfusion to treat jaundice. They believe one of the intravenous lines had an air bubble, in it causing Eliza to go into cardiac arrest.
"She was bruised on her hands and her legs, and her toes were black and blue from oxygen deprivation," Tim Gort says in the documentary.
Members of the hospital's risk management and nursing staff apologized in person. But the doctor, the Gorts say, left only a written note near Eliza's crib -- a gesture they felt was cold under the circumstances.
"It didn't build any good will," Tim told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone.
Financially, the hospital worked with the Gorts at first, paying for in-home nursing care, housing and a specialized van. But accessing resources often involved layers of lawyers and hospital insurance approvals.
And with Tim forced to quit his job to help Regina care for the girls, the Gorts felt tethered and dependent on Spectrum Health.
"Her care and the amount of care that she would require would change the whole family dynamics," said Tim in the documentary.
After what he says was a separate medical error -- a dosing error -- involving his oldest daughter Gwen, Tim Gort was ready to cut ties with Spectrum Health.
Earlier this year, the Gorts moved to a family home in Marquette to be closer to Regina's parents. But after the move, they say, Spectrum Health wouldn't provide some of the services.
"Those care and therapy should not involve Spectrum Health or Helen DeVos Children's Hospital anymore. They should be solely up to the parents," Tim told 24 Hour News 8.
The Gorts had hoped to work out a monetary settlement for Eliza's life-long care but talks stalled, forcing their hand and prompting the lawsuit, Tim said.
"We didn't want to file a lawsuit," said Tim. "We were really hoping that this could have been handled the way it ought to to be handled when an error is admitted, but that's not the case."
Spectrum Health provided the following statement on the lawsuit:
"Patient safety is the top priority for Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. We have provided significant support to the Gort family to provide for Eliza's care, however since this is active litigation we will not be commenting further at this time."
The Gort Family blog
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