In March, 2011, a federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska entered a judgment against a health care clinic and a medical corporation that was the parent of the clinic in the amount of $233,939 in compensatory damages, which included economic damages in the amount of $88,939 and noneconomic damages in the amount of $145,000, for a 14-month-old boy who contracted a serious blood infection (MRSA) as a result of medical malpractice.
The boy’s mother alleged in her medical malpractice complaint that she brought her young son to the medical clinic on two occasions because the boy was “cranky” and had an area of redness that was later identified as a boil. The clinic’s medical providers during both visits provided the mother with medication for her son and instructed her to apply warm compresses to the red area. Two days after the second clinic visit, the little boy was unresponsive due to sepsis (Sepsis is a serious illness caused when the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria, causing an unsafe drop in blood pressure and affecting the kidneys, liver, lungs, and central nervous system, resulting in shock. A change in mental status (such as the boy’s nonresponsiveness) and hyperventilation may be among the earliest signs of sepsis. Sepsis is often life-threatening, particularly for people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses.) Source
The federal judge who heard this medical malpractice case determined that the standard of care required that the clinic’s medical personnel incise and drain the red area no later than at the time of the second clinic visit. The judge determined that the mother had proven her medical malpractice claim that the clinic had failed to meet the standard of care applicable to her son’s care and that such failure was the cause of her son’s sepsis.
Wherever medical malpractice occurs, the results can lead to permanent and painful injuries, even death. In general, medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider fails to provide that level of care that is required under the circumstances. Often the victims of medical malpractice suspect that “something went wrong” but do not have the knowledge, education, training, or experience to determine if someone’s medical negligence caused the bad medical result. Often it is necessary to find a local medical malpractice lawyer to investigate the circumstances of the medical care and the unexpected results to determine if there is a basis for a medical malpractice claim.
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