On May 31, 2019, an Illinois judge entered a judgment in the amount of $2,022,195 against the defendant hospital, two doctors, and a medical practice as a result of a permanent hand injury suffered by a two-year-old child as a result of medical negligence in the emergency room. The Illinois medical malpractice trial lasted nine days and concluded on May 13, 2019 when the jury returned its verdict after less than two and a half hours of deliberation.
The Underlying Facts
The parents of the 2-year-old brought him to the defendant hospital’s emergency department in November 2011 for evaluation and treatment of his wrist that was injured as a result of a fall down stairs. The Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that one of the defendant doctors applied a wrap to the child’s arm that was too tight and cut off the circulation to his arm, wrist, and hand. The parents later returned their child to the defendant hospital’s emergency department where they alleged in their lawsuit the other defendant doctor failed to remove the wrap that had earlier been applied to his arm. As a result, the Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the toddler suffered permanent injuries.
The CEO of the defendant hospital wrote in a statement issued after the judgment was entered, “We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict but respect their time and attention during trial.”
A study entitled “Pediatric Malpractice Claims in the Emergency Department and Urgent Care Settings From 2001 to 2015” performed a retrospective review of all closed medical malpractice claims involving children (0-17 years old) originating from emergency department or urgent care centers from the Physician Insurers Association of America’s Data Sharing Project database, for the period from 2001 to 2015. A total of 728 closed claims in pediatric emergency care settings were reviewed.
The study found that payouts were made to the claimant in 30% of cases (220/728), with a total of $70.3 million (average $319,513) paid to patients or families during the 15-year period. The most common resulting medical conditions were cardiac or cardiorespiratory arrest, appendicitis, and disorder of male genital organs. Error in diagnosis was the most common chief medical factor (41%), whereas those that involved failure or delay in admission to the hospital, which was the eighth most common chief medical factor, resulted in the highest average indemnity. Of the 728 closed claims, 220 involved a patient death (30%), but claims involving major permanent injury more often resulted in a payment. Of the 57 cases that went to trial, verdicts favored the physician in 47 cases (82%).
If your child was injured (or worse) as a result of medical care in an emergency department of a hospital in Illinois or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your pediatric medical malpractice claim for you and represent you and your child in an emergency room medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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