Child’s undiagnosed infection resulted in permanent brain damage

Brain injuries resulting from medical malpractice are commonly associated with birth complications not handled appropriately by doctors, hospitals and nurses. As we mentioned in our previous post on our Joliet medical malpractice law blog, a delayed birth can cause an unborn baby to suffer complications from oxygen deprivation, including brain injuries. But children and other patients are also at risk of suffering debilitating brain injuries when doctors fail to diagnose serious and life-threatening infections.

Eight years ago, a 12-year-old boy suffered an injury after stepping on a nail and cutting himself while playing laser tag. The initial injury was not all that severe. However, the boy developed an infection from the cut that then went untreated by medical professionals. This negligence allowed the infection to spread when it could have been treated. The boy suffered painful, permanent injuries as a result.

Several months after the incident, the boy’s parents filed a lawsuit against the hospital that had initially treated the boy after he stepped on the nail. The hospital discharged the patient the same day he sought treatment for his injury. Two days later, the boy’s leg was severely swollen, he was in extreme pain, and his leg was red. The boy was taken to the same hospital and was monitored by another doctor for two days. The boy’s condition did not improve. When another doctor examined the boy, the doctor discovered that the child had developed necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh-eating bacteria.

The boy was transferred to a different facility where doctors performed skin grafts and other operations to remove tissue that had started to decompose as a result of the infection. The infection even caused the child to slip into a coma. He was in a coma for two weeks and suffered permanent brain damage.

Last month, the victim’s medical malpractice case went to trial. A jury concluded that doctors and the hospital where the boy initially sought treatment for his wound were nearly 70 percent liable for the child’s injuries. The victim will receive about $5 million in damages from the hospital and doctors who failed to diagnose his infection.

Source: Dyersburg State Gazette, “Family receives $7.8M settlement in flesh-eating bacteria case,” Aug. 31, 2012

Brain Injuries


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