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Family to receive $10 million settlement in ER negligence case

Many Illinois parents may agree that it can be heartbreaking to see a young child suffer from an illness, even if the child only has a cold or the flu. Young children often do not know how to explain what hurts or how they are feeling, but a parent can easily tell when their child is in pain.

When a parent does not know what could be causing his or her child’s symptoms, the parent often relies on medical professionals to properly examine, diagnose and treat the child. But when medical professionals fail to consider all of the factors that could be causing a child’s symptoms, medical professionals could miss a serious infection or other health problem that requires immediate attention. When a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis occurs, a child is put at risk of suffering additional health problems or complications that could affect the child for the rest of his or her life.

Last month, one family finally settled their medical malpractice suit against a California hospital after the hospital failed to treat their daughter in time when they brought her to the emergency room. As a result of the hospital’s negligence, the couple’s daughter, who was only 2 years old at the time, had to have her extremities amputated. The family will be awarded $10 million to help cover their child’s medical expenses and future care.

The incident occurred last November. According to the lawsuit, the couple took their daughter to the emergency room because the child was weak, she had a fever and her skin was discolored. Instead of receiving medical attention right away, the family was told to wait.

After noticing that their child’s symptoms were getting worse, the family said that they pleaded for help because they were afraid that their child was dying. Despite the severity of the child’s symptoms, the lawsuit stated that the girl was not seen by a physician until 5 hours later. When a physician finally saw the child, the family was told that their daughter needed to be transferred to a different hospital.

When the child arrived at the second hospital, doctors determined that she was suffering from Streptococcus A bacteria, which by that point had settled into her organs and blood stream. Because the infection was so severe, doctors had to amputate her feet, left hand and part of the girl’s right hand.

The $10 million settlement will help to cover the girl’s medical expenses including: medications, therapy, customized prosthetics, wheelchairs and special clothing for the rest of her life. When she turns 18, she will also receive an annuity of almost $17,000 a month.

According to medical malpractice attorneys, the lawsuit settlement is one of the largest in California history.

Source: The Washington Post, “$10M goes to family of Calif. Girl whose extremities were amputated after emergency room delay,” Oct. 28, 2011


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