Patients place incredible trust in their physicians and medical professionals when they visit hospitals for identifying or treating a medical problem. That trust comes with a responsibility on the part of the medical team, from doctors to nurses and nurse’s assistants, to conduct themselves in a reasonably careful manner under the circumstances. Patients cannot always expect perfection or treatment free of risk, but they do have the right to expect reasonable and safe care from the medical staff. When a physician or any medical staffer fails to provide that level of care, victims should consider a medical malpractice lawsuit so that they can have the financial ability to pay for extensive medical care that medical negligence can cost.
That is exactly what happened about a year and a half ago in Los Angeles, California. The case, filed on behalf of the 18-month-old boy by his mother, Dyrene Loftis, alleged that due to poor medical care, she suffered a ruptured uterus that caused a lack of oxygen to the child during his delivery. Loftis was 39 weeks pregnant and living at a downtown homeless shelter in Los Angeles with her other two children. In April 2012, she complained of severe abdominal pains and was rushed to the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment. She spent 14 hours in the labor and delivery unit before being discharged and sent back to the homeless shelter. Surprisingly, Loftis was never seen by an obstetrician during her hospital stay. Less than twelve hours later, she returned to the hospital with a ruptured uterus and underwent an emergency C-section to deliver the baby. The uterine rupture caused a lack of oxygen to the baby during his delivery. The baby, now eighteen months old, suffers from severe brain damage and requires assistance to breathe and eat. He is in a 24-hour long-term care facility and Loftis travels on a two-hour bus ride to visit him several times a week. A copy of the article regarding the case can be found here.
Loftis brought a medical malpractice suit against the LA County-USC Medical Center, alleging that negligence by the medical staff resulted in the brain damage to her baby. Earlier this week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $7.5 million settlement in the medical malpractice case. The settlement, which includes more than $300,000 in payment for the baby’s future medical care costs, will allow his mother to buy a house and move him out of his 24-hour facility.