The family of a boy who suffered a brain injury after surgery to correct his sleep apnea has been awarded $1.1 million by a Pennsylvania jury. In the medical malpractice lawsuit, it was alleged that the boy would unfortunately suffer developmental delays that could potentially linger into adulthood. While there is no way to tell for sure just how much he will be affected in the future, right now it is believed he is about a year and a half behind his peers, developmentally speaking.
The boy had been tested for sleep apnea, a condition affecting a person's ability to breathe while sleeping. His doctor recommended surgery to take out his tonsils and adenoids and insert tubes in his ears in order to improve the boy's low oxygen flow during sleep. The family complained that the doctor should have conducted more extensive physical exams once the surgery was complete. They also argued that their son should have been placed in intensive care rather than on the general hospital floor, and that doctors should have ordered that the hospital staff monitor the boy's oxygen level with an appropriate medical device.
At trial, jurors were convinced that medical malpractice accounted for the boy's brain injury. The Pennsylvania jury returned their verdict after a seven-day trial but only four to five hours of deliberation. This medical malpractice case demonstrates just how tragic the consequences can be when doctors deviate from the profession's recognized standards of reasonable care.
Unfortunately, in this particular case, the boy's family may face continued hardship due to his brain injury. Hopefully, the money awarded to them will help accommodate any special needs he might have.
Source: The Patriot-News, "Harrisburg-area child awarded $1.1 million in medical malpractice lawsuit," David Wenner, June 20, 2012