The effects of negligence by a physician or other health care provide can have devastating impacts. Those impacts can be especially devastating when the patient is a young child. An Ohio jury recently awarded $44.5 million to a thirteen-year-old boy and his family for failing to diagnose or treat an ear infection.
The boy complained of an ear infection in 2014. The parents claimed that the infection was not properly diagnosed or treated and that it spread to the boy’s brain. The family argued that the laboratory failed to evaluate laboratory samples and return the results of their tests in a timely fashion. The requests for the tests specified “STAT” status, which means that the tests were to be completed and results returned to the treating physician within two hours. The test results were not sent to the doctors for six days. The infection eventually caused swelling in the brain, which led to extensive paralysis.
According to the family’s lawyer, the jury’s award included money for future medical care, past medical bills and compensatory damages. Economic damages were awarded in the amount of $24.5 million, and $20 million were awarded for non-economic and future damages. Two other defendants who were initially sued reached confidential settlements with the family. An unresolved issue is whether the full amount of the award can be collected from the laboratory and its insurer.
Anyone who has experienced an injury or lost a loved one to an error by a health care provider may wish to consult a lawyer who is experienced in handling malpractice cases. A knowledgeable attorney can provide helpful advice on the strength of the case and the likelihood of recovering damages from the parties who may have been involved.
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