Medical malpractice can have a lifelong impact on victims and their families. A recent settlement will result in a young girl who suffered brain and heart damage as a result of medical malpractice, and her parents, receiving a settlement of a minimum of $12.5 million. The settlement between the victims and a medical center and several doctors in a nearby Pennsylvania community north of the Pottsville area was recently approved by the court. The parents of the 9-year old girl asserted that a bad surgery days following the child’s birth left her with lasting brain and heart injuries.

The total settlement according to the agreement is $11 million some of which will be used to purchase annuities which places the total value of the settlement at $12.5 million or greater. Some of the settlement money will be paid as cash payments and a trust will also be set up. Total payments during the girl’s lifetime could push the settlement value to $16.9 million. Oftentimes, victims of medical malpractice face significant medical expenses and may also face the need for costly and ongoing care.

Following the girl’s birth, a pediatric cardiologist diagnosed her with a congenital heart defect that required surgery to repair. The surgery, however, could not be performed at the medical facility where the child was born. Following the treating doctor and facility’s guidance, the girl was transferred to the medical facility included in the lawsuit and the surgery was performed by a doctor the family asserted had far less experience. As a result of the medical errors during the surgery, the girl suffered a series of cardiac arrests and strokes in the days following the surgery which left her with brain damage. The child was then transferred to a larger hospital in Pennsylvania where the surgical errors were corrected and she later received a heart transplant approximately a year after her birth.

Because medical malpractice can have a devastating impact on the lives of victims and their families, it is important that victims and their families are familiar with legal protections designed to help them when harmed. The process of bringing a medical malpractice claim for damages can be complicated and may involve settlement negotiations and other complexities which is why it is important for families to understand the process and how it can help them obtain compensation for damages, while holding negligent doctors and medical facilities accountable.

Source: The Times-Tribune, “Settlement reached in malpractice case that left child with brain, heart damage,” David Singleton, July 27, 2017