The parents of a baby who suffered brain damage while in the hospital have filed a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit in which they allege that a hospital nurse was high on methamphetamine when he negligent dislodged the baby’s breathing tube while giving him a bath, which resulted in the baby being unable to breath for at least seven minutes and causing the baby’s heart to stop, which led to permanent brain damage.
The four-month-old baby had been admitted to the defendant hospital on November 15, 2015 because he had the flu. The baby had been born with Jeune syndrome (asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy (ATD)), which is a rare genetic disorder that primarily affects the bones and is commonly associated with short ribs and a small, narrow chest that restrict the expansion and growth of the lungs that often causes life-threatening difficulties in breathing. Therefore, a breathing tube was placed in the baby shortly after he was admitted to the hospital. The baby was admitted to the pediatric ICU after his medical condition worsened due to a blood infection.
On about the twelfth day in the hospital, the defendant nurse was assisting in bathing the baby in his bed. After using a wet washcloth to bathe the baby, the defendant nurse allegedly lifted the baby off of the bed so that the bed sheet could be changed. At the moment, the baby’s mother claims the defendant nurse’s “hands started to shake. He held him, and the tube he had in his mouth fell out. I looked at the monitor and the numbers started to drop. I didn’t understand at that moment what had happened. I watched as he tried to put the tube back in his mouth. He couldn’t, and he was so nervous that he went to another nurse and said something in her ear.” After a second nurse began using a manual resuscitator on the baby, the mother alleges that she heard “beep, beep, beep; I stepped back, and then more nurses came in and they stood around [my baby] and started to work on him.”
The baby’s heart stopped and he had to be resuscitated by doctors who came to the baby’s room. Medical records indicate that the baby was without oxygen for at least seven minutes and possibly as long as thirteen minutes. The baby required a tracheotomy and a gastrostomy for tube feeding because he stopped swallowing.
The baby remained in the hospital for about two months. At the present time, the child cannot walk on his own and speaks very little. He requires nutrition through a tube placed into his stomach and he requires nursing care around-the-clock.
The baby’s mother described the defendant nurse as “very hyper, very effusive, like very anxious. That didn’t look normal, but I thought it was part of his personality because nobody said anything. I tried to accept him, like everyone else.” The mother’s Florida medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the defendant nurse was sweating, was shaking, and had bloodshot eyes when he bathed her baby.
The Florida medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the mother found out later that the defendant nurse had a history of using methamphetamine and that the defendant hospital did not drug test the defendant nurse after the incident. It was only later that the mother found out that the defendant nurse had admitted to the defendant hospital in 2014 that he was addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs that resulted in a referral to a substance abuse program for nurses in January 2015, according to the Florida medical malpractice lawsuit. The defendant nurse reportedly quit the rehabilitation program two months after the incident, and subsequently relinquished his nursing license.
The defendant nurse and the hospital adamantly deny the description of the incident as alleged in the Florida medical malpractice lawsuit.
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