Articles Tagged with child medical malpractice

After two weeks of testimony, a medical malpractice jury in Arkansas awarded $46.5 million to a toddler whose family alleged that her doctors’ negligence resulted in catastrophic and irreversible brain damage.  The family alleged that the doctors failed to properly manage and treat the newborn baby’s jaundice following birth which led to the development of kernicterus in the child’s brain.  Kernicterus is a rare brain damage that occurs in a newborn experiencing severe jaundice.  It can be prevented by treating jaundice early.

Jaundice is a yellow discoloration in a newborn baby’s skin and eyes.  The condition results from an excess amount of bilirubin, a yellow-colored pigment of red blood cells, in the blood.  A high bilirubin level associated with severe infant jaundice or inadequately treated jaundice can result in brain damage, as it did in this case.  According to the family’s medical malpractice lawyers, the infant’s initial blood test demonstrated elevated levels of bilirubin, but no follow up blood testing was done and no phototherapy lights to treat the jaundice were administered.  The reason, the lawyers say, is because the child’s bilirubin levels, which were tested at 2 hours after birth, were compared against those which are normal for a two-day old child.  Death or brain damage caused by the failure to treat high levels of bilirubin in newborns is considered a “never event” in the healthcare industry, meaning it should never happen because it is identifiable, preventable and serious.

As a result of the brain damage suffered by the child, she is “locked into a body that won’t work” as she will not be able to walk, talk, feed herself, or care for herself independently, though she has normal cognitive function.

When Myles Massey was born on September 1, 2007, along with his brother, Henry, a medical mystery began to unfold. The twin boys were born prematurely in a Washington state hospital, but it was only Myles who exhibited signs that something was wrong. It took years, but Myles’ family has finally determined the cause of the bacterial infection that overtook his small body, leaving him unable to walk or talk, while sparing his brother who developed normally.

The Massey’s initial medical malpractice suit filed in 2009, which named the doctor’s and hospital that treated Myles at the time of his birth for his contraction of the rare bacteria, cited poor infection control practices as the cause of his systematic decline. However, despite numerous tests, investigators were never able to link the bacteria to any of the doctors or the hospital.

In early 2011, a company by the name of Triad Group became the subject of an FDA investigation which found that the alcohol prep pads they were manufacturing and distributing were contaminated with the bacteria. It was then that the Massey’s mystery was solved. The hospital where Myles was born confirmed that their neonatal intensive care unit used the Triad alcohol wipes. It’s not clear why Myles was affected by this bacterium while his brother and other infants in the NICU were not, but the alcohol prep pads have been almost conclusively deemed the source of the bacteria found in Myles’ bloodstream. The Massey’s lawsuit, now amended, includes the manufacturers and distributors of the alcohol prep pads.

Recently, a New York District Judge ordered Mogen Circumcision Instruments of New York to pay compensatory and punitive damages totaling $10.8 million to a Florida boy and his parents following a medical instrument malfunction. Despite the instrument maker’s claims that injury arising from the use of their Mogen clamp was impossible, the boy lost a portion of his penis. This is not the first time Mogen has been at the center of a circumcision injury lawsuit. Mogen was involved in a 2007 Massachusetts lawsuit where it was forced to pay $7.5 million. In the current case, the baby lost the entire head (glans) of his penis. The judgment amount was based on the court’s determination the Mogen had to pay for both medical expenses and the years of therapy that the child will need.

Malpractice is sometimes to blame for circumcision mistakes and injuries as well. A jury in a 2009 case awarded $2.3 million to a baby and his parents after too much tissue was removed during his circumcision. Despite a nurse’s complaint of excessive bleeding, the baby’s pediatrician failed to respond; had he, the tip of the penis might have been reattached. As a result of the medical negligence, the baby lost a third of the glans of his penis. The New York jury found both the physician who performed the circumcision and the pediatrician negligent.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled a number of medical malpractice cases involving injured children. Many of these cases involve psychological as well as physical injury and damage. They are extremely complicated and require expertise that most general personal injury attorneys do not have.

A Minnesota jury has awarded more than $1.25 million to the family of a 21 month old boy who died due to an infected (gangrenous) appendix that a doctor failed to diagnose and treat. The family claimed that the boy was misdiagnosed on two separate occasions over four days, including the day before he died.

The family alleged that when the doctor examined the boy’s abdomen, the boy cried louder than ever, but the doctor told the boy’s father that the boy’s appendix was fine. Thus, the doctor did not order an ultrasound or CT scan which would have diagnosed the problem. The doctor then diagnosed gastroenteritis. Evidence presented at trial established that the doctor scheduled pediatric patients in 10-minute increments. Thus, the family claimed that he was too busy to give each patient the attention they needed and deserved.

The doctor’s diagnosis of influenza was made over the phone and the family was discouraged from bringing the child into the clinic to be seen. That day, the doctor’s appointment schedule showed that 45 children were scheduled to be seen, and that the doctor was behind schedule.

A New York hospital has paid $2.9 million to settle the medical malpractice case of a 6-year-old boy who was killed after he was struck in the head by an oxygen tank during an MRI. The boy was lying in an MRI chamber when the machine’s magnet pulled in a metal tank that a hospital staffer had brought into the MRI’s magnetic field. This is one of a number of recent cases in which people have been severely injured or killed by metal objects that were left in an MRI room.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have successfully handled a large number of medical malpractice cases involving the failure of radiology facilities to follow their own written policies, procedures or guidelines. Cases such as there, in which a doctor, hospital or medical facility fails to follow its own standards, are inexcusable. To see some of the cases I have handled, click here.

Contact Andrew G. Slutkin with further questions or inquiries at 410-385-2786

A Massachusetts jury has found that two doctors at Children’s Hospital Boston were guilty of medical malpractice that caused the death of a 3-year-old boy, and awarded the parents $15 million. The boy died a year and a half after he underwent surgery for a birth defect. The child was born with a severe congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, a complicated but treatable birth defect that affects the flow of blood through the heart. He underwent eight procedures, 7 of which were cardiac catheterizations, before coming to Children’s for another catheterization procedure to widen his arteries. After the Boston procedure, the child suffered a seizure. A CAT scan revealed that that contrast dye, which is used during the procedure to better see the patient’s anatomy, had leaked into his brain. Later, an MRI revealed that a piece of metal had lodged in the boy’s brain, probably from a medical instrument. When the child left the hospital, he was unable to walk or speak. The jury awarded damages of $5 million for the child’s pain and suffering, $5 million for the parents’ loss of their child, and $5 million for the child’s wrongful death.

According to the lawyers involved in the case, the parties reached a “high-low” settlement prior to the jury’s verdict. Such settlements can be structured in many different ways, but usually it means that the plaintiff will get a certain amount of money guaranteed (the low) in exchange for agreeing that no matter how high the verdict is the defendants will not have to pay more than a particular amount (the high). Usually, the plaintiff gets the low even if he/she loses the case. But sometimes the settlement agreements are structured so that the defendant only pays the money if the plaintiff wins the case. If the verdict is between the high and low, then the plaintiff gets that amount. These agreements can be beneficial to both sides to protect each side from their worst case scenario – in other words, it protects the plaintiff from losing the case completely and it protects the defendant(s) from a large verdict.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled a number of medical malpractice cases involving sick children, and have done a number of high-low settlements. They are extremely complicated and require expertise that most general personal injury attorneys do not have.

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