A recent medical malpractice settlement involved a little girl who was born healthy, but as a toddler was a victim of medical errors and an extreme ER delay that have left her disabled for life. The little girl came down with a staph infection, but her parents did not know what it was. They noticed she had a fever and was growing progressively weaker and decided to bring her to the ER; they trusted that the doctors there would know what was causing her illness.
The triage nurse at the hospital, however, misdiagnosed the girl. She told the family that the girl had a rash and virus and told the family to wait. The father and mother noticed that their toddler continued to get worse and worse. Unfortunately, instead of reassessing and changing her original wrong diagnosis when the father pointed out to the nurse that the girl was getting worse as they waited, she stuck to her diagnosis and told the family to wait.
After five hours went by, the father pushed through the back doors and asked for a new nurse. The new nurse said that the bruising that was now covering the little girl’s whole face and much of her body was definitely not a rash. They flew the little girl to a children’s hospital. She nearly died, but survived. She had to have both feet below the knee amputated as well as her left hand part of her right hand.
Because of those errors, the little girl will now be disabled for the rest of her life. The settlement will take care of her medical expenses, but her quality of life is diminished.
Source: Associated Press, “Girl to get $10M for amputations after ER delay,” Oct. 28, 2011