The largest medical malpractice verdict in Massachusetts during 2009 involved a 3-year-old boy who died in December, 2004, unable to walk or speak since he underwent a cardiac catherization 18 months earlier. It was alleged that the doctors at a Massachusetts hospital injected too much contrast dye and used too much anesthesia that contributed to his death.
The boy was born in July, 2001 with a serious birth defect that affected the flow of blood through his heart and required that he have seven cardiac catherizations by the age of two. Hours after his last cardiac catherization on April 18, 2003 (his second at the Massachusetts hospital), the little boy suffered a seizure. A CT scan after the procedure found that the contrast dye had leaked into his brain. A MRI after the seizure also found a small piece of metal lodged in his brain, allegedly from a medical instrument used during the procedure (the medical malpractice claim involving the medical instrument manufacturer and the medical malpractice claim against the contrast dye manufacturer were settled before the trial against the doctors). Unfortunately, the boy had suffered severe brain damage by the time of his discharge from the hospital three weeks later.
Another important issue during the medical malpractice trial against the doctors involved the alleged alteration of the boy’s medical records. It was alleged that the treating physicians tried to cover up their medical mistakes when someone signed off on a medical record despite not being present during the treatment and when the medical note from a cardiologist in the intensive care unit disappeared (the doctors denied the allegations). Apparent inconsistencies in the medical records, and differences between the electronic medical records and the printed medical records, were also a focus during the medical malpractice trial.
The medical malpractice jury trial lasted six weeks after which the jury deliberated for five days before rendering their verdict in December, 2009, finding as follows: $5 million for the boy’s pain and suffering, $5 million for the parents’ loss of their child, and $5 million for wrongful death.
Allegations of altered medical records, especially when they involve the medical records of a child who allegedly died as a result of medical mistakes, are serious. Doctors and other treating medical providers have access and control over the patient’s medical records and the patient has no say or input in what appears (or does not appear) in the patient’s medical records. Often medical malpractice juries rely on what is stated in the medical records; if the jurors believe that the medical records were intentionally altered, they will react accordingly.
If you or a family member are the victim of possible medical malpractice, it is important to promptly obtain professional legal advice regarding your medical malpractice claim to reduce the possibility of altered medical records and to protect your right to compensation for your losses.
Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim and bring a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate. You may also reach us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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