On June 19, 2012, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury awarded $1.1 million for an 11-month-old who suffered brain injury shortly after surgery to remove his tonsils, adenoids, and to place tubes in his ears. The surgery was recommended to treat the little boy’s sleep apnea, which caused him to have low levels of oxygen in his blood due to episodes that occurred almost 50 times per hour.
The medical malpractice claim alleged that the boy’s medical history and his symptoms put him at high-risk for having breathing issues and low blood oxygenation levels immediately following the surgery. In fact, he had to remain in the recovery room for five hours after the surgery due to respiratory problems and low levels of oxygen in his blood. Later that night, the little boy suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated, which led to a permanent brain injury that was seen on a MRI.
The medical malpractice claim alleged that the surgeon failed to perform necessary physical examinations of the child after the surgery, the surgeon should have placed the little boy in intensive care instead of a regular room in the hospital where the surgery was performed, and the surgeon failed to order continued use of medical equipment to monitor the level of oxygen in the child’s blood, all of which allegedly contributed to the child’s cardiac arrest and resulting brain injury.
The now 6-year-old boy remains about one and a half years behind his peers in his level of skills due to his injury.
The seven-day medical malpractice jury trial was followed by less than five hours of jury deliberations before the verdict was rendered against the surgeon (the hospital where the surgery was performed was not a party to the medical malpractice lawsuit).
When a small child needs to have surgery, the anxiety level of the child’s parents often goes through the roof. Parents feel powerless and not in control under such circumstances and must necessarily rely on the promises of the surgeon, the surgical team, and the recovery room personnel to order, provide, monitor, and maintain the necessary medical equipment and treatment to insure that their child is not needlessly injured during the surgery or after the surgery.
If surgical mistakes result in injuries to patients, then the surgeon and others may be held responsible for the resulting injuries and damages. Once a patient is put to sleep in order to perform a surgical procedure, the patient’s health, well-being, and life are solely in the hands of the medical personnel assigned with the task of keeping the patient safe from unnecessary danger. If the helpless patient suffers injuries or death due to medical negligence, the responsible negligent medical providers must take responsibility for their failures to follow the required standard of care.
If you or a family member may have become the victim of surgical malpractice or other medical malpractice, you should seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim.
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