A hopsital equipment mistake caused a brain injury in a newborn pediatric patient in California and lead to a medical malpractice settlement of $20m.
After birth, a feeding tube machine was not calibrated properly. The newborn was overloaded with glucose that caused an electrolyte imbalance. This caused a change in the blood such that oxygenated blood was not reaching the child’s brain. Without oxygenated blood, the child suffered a global brain injury known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
Her mom walked into the newborn ICU to find her child pale and the diaper soaked with a puddle of water on the floor. The puddle was caused by a leak in the feeding bag.
When a restriction of blood flow deprives a person’s brain of oxygen, a global brain injury can result. Brain injuries can impair a person’s memory, the ability to ambulate, speak, swallow, vision, and other bodily functions that impact activities of daily living. A person with global brain injury will often develop cerebral palsy, as the child in this case did. Today, the child struggles to walk and speak because of her brain injury.
According to a study published in 2000 edition of BMJ, in the United States, medical error results in 44,000-98,000 unnecessary deaths each year and 1,000,000 excess injuries. According to the article, “Errors often occur when clinicians are inexperienced and new procedures are introduced.”
A hospital equipment mistake like the one this family suffered occur more frequently than many like to admit. Often times, this type of medical error does not cause permanent and life long injuries to the patient. But when it does occur, it’s important to know your legal rights.
If you have been injured as a result of a hopsital equipment mistake, you should contact a lawyer to learn your legal remedies. A hopsital equipment mistake can be difficult trace down if you are not experienced in examining the medical records and surrounding documentation. Make sure any lawyer you do contact has the experience, skill, and training necessary to handle your case.