A Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of a now 6-year-old boy and against defendant Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (“CHOP”) for the serious injuries the boy suffered when he was 11 months old allegedly due to CHOP’s failure to timely diagnose and treat his bacterial meningitis during three visits to CHOP’s emergency room on consecutive days in 2009.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury rendered its decision on November 16, 2015, awarding $7.5 million for pain and suffering, $1.1 million for loss of future earnings, and $1.5 million for future medical care that the boy will need for his loss of hearing, loss of balance, developmental delays, and learning delays due to the delayed diagnosis that he was suffering from untreated bacterial meningitis.
The infant had a fever and had been sick for several days before his mother first brought him to CHOP’s emergency department, on December 21, 2009. The hospital’s medical staff diagnosed the infant as having an upper respiratory infection and discharged him home with his mother.
The infant’s condition deteriorated after he arrived back home, causing his mother to bring him back to the same emergency room the following day. During the second visit to the defendant’s emergency room, the child was noted to have a high fever, a rapid heartbeat, and an abnormal respiratory rate, which should have led to the hospital testing for a bacterial infection at that time. Nonetheless, the hospital’s medical staff in the emergency department failed to do so and again discharged the child to home with his mother.
The boy’s mother brought him back to the defendant hospital’s emergency room for the third time on the following day. The defendant’s medical staff took more than an hour to examine the child and blood work was not completed until nearly midnight. Once the blood testing results became known, it took until 3 a.m. for the hospital’s medical staff to begin providing antibiotics to the child to treat his bacterial meningitis. Sadly, the administration of antibiotics came too late for the child and he sustained his permanent injuries as a result, according to the Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of the child and his mother.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice trial lasted four weeks during which the defense argued to the jury that the boy’s symptoms were consistent with bronchitis, his condition appeared to improve, and it was reasonable to not admit the child to the hospital for treatment under the circumstances. The medical malpractice jury took only three hours to reject the defense and to return its verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
As a result of the delay in diagnosing the boy’s bacterial meningitis and the resulting delay in treating him with appropriate antibiotics, the child will be functionally illiterate for the rest of his life.
If you or a loved one were the victim of medical negligence for the failure to timely diagnose a medical condition and/or the failure to timely and appropriately treat a medical condition in a hospital in Pennsylvania or in a hospital in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advice of a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your hospital malpractice claim for you and represent you in a hospital malpractice case, if appropriate.
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