Whether we want to think about it or not, doctors are human and make mistakes. While in many cases these mistakes either result in no, or minor injuries to patients on the receiving end, in other cases, the outcome can be devastating. When a medical mistake leads to a serious injury, in West Virginia or elsewhere in the nation, it is possible that a medical malpractice lawsuit will follow.
The parents of a girl, who suffered life changing brain injuries as the result of a miscommunication between doctors, filed one of these lawsuits. The lawsuit was recently concluded with the family receiving $15 million from the hospital that employed the doctors involved in the mix-up.
The root of the lawsuit was information one doctor provided the mother of the injured girl regarding over-the-counter medication she could give her daughter who had previously had a heart transplant, to treat her congestion due to a cold. Though a transplant cardiologist reportedly told the doctor who was in communication with the girl’s mother that Afrin nasal spray should be avoided, the communicating doctor apparently misunderstood and told the girl’s mother that it was okay. Accordingly, she purchased the spray and gave some to her daughter.
Shortly after receiving the medication her daughter stopped breathing.
Though the then 4-year-old received CPR from both her mother as well as emergency medical technicians, tests indicate that the lack of oxygen led to serious, irreversible brain damage.
In an effort to provide their daughter with the best care, the girl’s parents have provided her with both cognitive therapy as well as nursing care. In addition, they sought stem-cell treatment in an effort to rebuild neuron pathways located in her brain. These steps are of course expensive which likely contributed, at least in part, to the lawsuit.
Communication is at the root of many medical mistakes. When someone finds themselves facing such a situation, in many situations a lawsuit is the best course of action. A lawyer who handles such cases can help determine if it is a good option.
Source: Seattle Times, “UW must pay family $15M for error that left daughter disabled,” Carol M. Ostrom, July 12, 2013