On November 24, 2021, a Nebraska medical malpractice jury awarded $26.1 million against Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in a medical malpractice case that alleged that it failed to properly treat a child who suffered seizures in January 2017 after she fell while standing on a toy at a day care center and struck her head on the floor. The Nebraska medical malpractice jury deliberated for eight hours over two days following a two-week trial before determining by a vote of 10-to-2 that Children’s Hospital and Dr. Heidi Killefer improperly discharged then 11-month-old Vivianne Marousek following the head trauma that caused the infant to suffering a seizure at the hospital. The parents claimed that Dr. Killefer negligently determined that the infant suffered only one seizure that would not persist.
The parents’ Nebraska medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the infant suffered severe seizures and irreparable brain damage within 48 hours after arriving home. The now nearly six-year-old child is blind, she is only able to make out the outlines of her parents, and she is in a wheelchair. She suffers from a form of cerebral palsy and is unable to communicate other than to hear her parents’ voices. The child requires around-the-clock medical care for her injuries. The parents’ experts testified that the child’s brain injury resulted from the hospital’s failure to continue to monitor the child and administer anti-seizure medications that would have provided the necessary time for her brain to heal.
The jury awarded $21.5 million for the child’s continuing medical care and $4.6 million to her parents. Nebraska’s cap on damages in medical malpractice cases in the amount of $2.25 million means that the verdict will likely be reduced to a total of $4.5 million ($2.25 million for the child and $2.25 million for her parents). The parents’ Nebraska medical malpractice lawyer has indicated his intention to request the judge to declare the Nebraska medical malpractice damages cap unconstitutional in light of the medical bills that will be incurred over the life of the child that will far exceed the cap.
Children’s Hospital issued a statement after the verdict: “We appreciate the time and effort the jury put into this case, and we sympathize with this child. We strongly maintain that the evidence presented clearly showed that our team provided the appropriate standard of care. We stand with our providers and staff who are dedicated to delivering exceptional care to every patient and family we serve.”
The parents’ attorney countered: “She suffered a horrible, horrible brain injury. The only cause of that is that Children’s sent this child home when they never should have sent this child home.”
If your child suffered a serious injury due to medical negligence that occurred in a hospital in Nebraska or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Nebraska medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your hospital negligence claim for you and represent you and your child in a hospital medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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