$15.2 million paid for medical mistake that caused severe brain damage

Last month, a West Coast medical facility paid over $15 million to the family of a young girl who suffered a permanent and debilitating brain injury at the hands of health care professionals entrusted with her care. The money will provide life-long, 24-hour-a-day medical care for the child who is now unable to communicate or tend to her own needs. Her family is unsure whether she is even able to feel or think.

Shortly after the child's birth, she had heart surgery to treat a congenital heart defect. When she was about three years old, she contracted a common cold that affected her breathing. Two treating physicians were consulted and, due to their miscommunication, she was prescribed a medication that caused a heart attack and she stopped breathing. A lack of oxygen caused her brain injury.

Medical malpractice

Medical errors occur far too frequently and physicians and other health care professionals are often hesitant to admit their mistakes. Legal actions taken against individual care providers or health care facilities because of injuries or deaths caused by such mistakes are referred to as medical malpractice lawsuits.

According to a recent CBS News article, the most common medical malpractice claims are due to failure to diagnose the following medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Appendicitis
  • Meningitis, especially in children
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Bone fractures

Prescribing and administering incorrect drugs is also a leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. Occasionally, foreign objects are accidently left inside the bodies of surgical patients.

Earlier this summer, a Portland, Oregon woman discovered that a piece of medical equipment broke off in her pelvis during a surgery last year. She complained of pain for many months but doctors failed to find the source of the issue until just recently. An internal investigation is underway at the hospital where she had her surgery.

Wrongful death

Some medical mistakes can be remedied and others may not cause symptoms and, thus, never be detected. Unfortunately, some seemingly minor mistakes can cause wrongful deaths. An entire family and expanded network of friends and relatives are affected when a needless and untimely death occurs. Although nothing can take the place of a loved one, compensation may be available to suffering survivors.

If you or a loved one is injured due to a medical mistake, seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about legal claims against negligent doctors, health care facilities and other medical professionals may be able to help you obtain compensation for your losses.