Earlier this week, a Grand Rapids, Michigan medical malpractice jury returned its verdict against a deceased radiologist and his medical practice in the amount of $1.25 million, finding in favor of the parents of a newborn baby girl who died three days after her birth in June 2009. The Michigan medical malpractice jury determined that the radiologist’s actions did not directly cause the infant’s death but was a contributing factor in her death.
The mother gave birth to her premature daughter on June 4, 2009. The otherwise healthy baby was born at 34 weeks and weighed 5 pounds. Because the baby was born premature, she was fed through a catheter that was inserted through her umbilical cord. As is standard practice when a catheter is inserted under such circumstances, an x-ray was taken about nine minutes after the nurse inserted the catheter, to confirm the proper insertion and placement of the catheter.
The x-ray allegedly showed that the tip of the catheter was improperly placed in the infant’s heart. However, the defendant radiologist who read the x-ray allegedly reported no abnormality in the placement of the catheter. The parents’ medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the improper placement of the tip of the catheter in their daughter’s heart led to the build-up of fluid in the sac surrounding her heart.
Their daughter went into cardiac arrest three days after her birth, and despite efforts to resuscitate her, she died the same day. The parents alleged that had the defendant radiologist correctly read the x-ray and had he promptly reported the correct findings to the medical staff caring for the baby, the position of the catheter would have been corrected and their daughter would not have died.
An autopsy performed two days after death was inconclusive; however, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy found 20 ml of the TPN feeding solution within the sac surrounding the baby’s heart, and that both of her lungs were partially or completely collapsed.
While the Michigan medical malpractice jury concluded that the defendant radiologist’s actions in improperly reading the x-ray and failing to notify the medical staff caring for the newborn regarding the improper placement of the tip of the catheter did not directly cause the baby’s death, the jury found that the radiologist was negligent and that his negligence was a contributing factor in the baby’s death.
The 63-year-old radiologist died four months before the medical malpractice case was filed against him (his estate was named as one of the two medical malpractice defendants). On March 27, 2014, following the jury’s verdict, the parents and the defendants reached a confidential settlement.
If you or your family suffered the loss of a child due to possible medical negligence, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
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