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Brain-injured child gets settlement in medical malpractice case

Posted by Joseph F. Sullivan | Aug 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

Occasionally, in New York or another state, the defendants in medical negligence cases admit liability and focus on the process of trying to minimize the amount of the damages to be paid. In cases where there is gross negligence or a dramatic injury to a sympathetic patient, the strategy generally pays off by keeping a good part of the facts of the medical malpractice away from the jury's attention. This is only done by defense counsel in a limited number of cases that are assessed to be ‘ticking time bombs,' with a smoldering potential for a very large verdict.

In one case in another state, the defendant hospital, located in Michigan, admitted to negligence and ultimate monetary liability. The case involved a newborn baby, now age four, who suffered severe brain damage after a botched post-birth procedure conducted by the medical providers right after she was born. The baby was initially delivered in apparently fair health and with her normal cognitive faculties intact.

However, due to what appeared to be a case of jaundice, the medical personnel decided to perform an “exchange transfusion.” This involved the taking of blood from her body by intravenous tube and simultaneously replacing it with fresh blood introduced through another tube. The procedure ended in a horrific catastrophe when air leaked into the bloodstream and caused a deprivation of oxygen to the baby's brain.

The parents later were told that this deprivation of oxygen lasted over 30 minutes. The parents filed suit on behalf of their daughter. The trial on damages only was set to begin on Monday, Aug. 4. The attorneys for the parties, however, engaged in forthright negotiations and obtained a settlement just prior to trial for an undisclosed amount. The procedure utilized when a defendant admits liability in a medical malpractice case is generally the same in all jurisdictions, including in New York.

Source:, "Spectrum Health, parents reach a settlement in malpractice case over infant's brain injury", Sue Thoms, Aug. 4, 2014

About the Author

Joseph F. Sullivan

Born in Jamaica, Queens to working class parents, Joseph Sullivan became the second member of his family to attend college and the first to obtain an advanced degree. He graduated cum laude from Temple University School of Law. While there, he was a writer and editor of the Temple Law Review. ...


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