Failure to diagnose an infection in a child’s hips resulted in orthopedic injury with permanent disability. Top Injury Attorneys at Morrison & Wagner helped the injured party receive rightful compensation in the amount of $3,425,000. How common is a failure to diagnose? Approximately 40% of all medical malpractice claims involve a failure to diagnose some kind of condition (data). If you or a loved one experience medical malpractice, contact an experienced injury attorney right away. Read more about other cases of medical malpractice and physician error.
Illustrative Photo Credit: Elisa Self [License]
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Unspotted infection claimed child’s hips, mother alleged (VerdictSearch)
Settlement Amount: $3,425,000
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Court: Kings Supreme, Kings County, New York
Case Type: Medical Malpractice – Childbirth, Failure to Diagnose
Date: July 26, 2006
Stuart Wagner; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY, for Plaintiff, and daughter
Eric H. Morrison; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY, for Plaintiff, and daughter
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On Nov. 24, 2002, the Plaintiff, a pregnant woman in her first trimester of gestation, presented to Maimonides Medical Center, in Brooklyn, experiencing contractions. Several hours later she gave birth to premature twin daughters. The first baby was born with Apgar scores of 9, and 9. (Editor’s note: The Apgar system scores an infant’s physical condition during the first minutes of life. The infant’s heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, stimulated responses, and color are graded zero, one or two. Thus, the maximum total score is 10. A low score indicates that the infant requires immediate, lifesaving attention.)
As a result of her premature birth, the baby was admitted into the hospital’s neonatology unit and was diagnosed with sepsis, growth retardation and prematurity. After more than 30 days in the neonatal intensive-care unit, she was released with a clean bill of health. Thereafter, the baby’s parents noticed that she was not turning like her twin sister was. The baby girl’s pediatrician noticed problems with her hips, and she was referred to a pediatric orthopedist. Upon examination, the orthopedist determined that the baby had no hip joints on both the left and right sides.
The Plaintiff, acting individually and on her daughter’s behalf, sued the hospital and the attending physicians. She alleged that the defendants failed to diagnose the condition and that their failures constituted medical malpractice.
The plaintiff’s expert pediatric orthopedist determined that the internist who examined the baby on her fourth day made the correct diagnosis and noted that the area was “swollen and painful.” They contended that this constituted an orthopedic emergency and warranted an immediate orthopedic consultation. Plaintiffs’ counsel also determined that the consultation would have resulted in a hip aspiration and removal of the bacteria that caused the infection. He further opined that the septic arthritis or osteomyelitis, an inflammation of the bone caused by a pathogenic organism, was not diagnosed and also demonstrated the defendants’ failure to appreciate the infant’s symptoms.
The defendants claimed that they did not depart from the standard of care. Defense counsel argued that the infant was provided timely and directed hip examinations following the intern’s note and that no symptoms justified an orthopedic consultation.
Plaintiffs’ counsel claimed that the delayed diagnosis led to an infection that caused the complete deterioration of the little girl’s hip joints, resulting in a permanent disability. The girl, now 4, walks with an altered gait. Although she does not wear a brace, she requires fusion surgery on both hips. The surgery can not be performed until after she reaches puberty, and she also requires revision surgery over the course of her lifetime.
The victim’s vocational life-planning expert determined that she will have profound vocational and occupational consequences and will have difficulty finding meaningful employment.
Plaintiffs’ counsel sought recovery of an unspecified amount of damages for past and future medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The defense claimed the girl does not need revision surgeries and will be able to lead a normal productive life.
The parties agreed to a $3,425,000 pretrial settlement. The hospital’s insurer will contribute the entire amount. The attending doctors were stipulated out.
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Judge: Gerard H. Rosenberg