A Hawaii medical malpractice case filed after the unnecessary death of an 8-year-old second grader from Hilo, Hawaii was recently settled by the U.S. government for $850,000 (the health care clinic where the child was treated was a federally qualified health center for which the U.S. government was responsible for the medical malpractice claim against the clinic).
In addition to the federal government’s portion of the Hawaii medical malpractice settlement, the State of Hawaii resolved the medical malpractice claim against the Hilo Medical Center, and the medical malpractice insurer for three defendant physicians contributed confidential amounts to resolve the Hawaii medical malpractice claims against them.
The child’s mother brought her to the federally qualified health clinic on August 29, 2012 for treatment of a cut on her leg. The nurse practitioner who cared for the little girl provided her with the broad spectrum antibiotic Bactrim. When the lab results from that visit became available a few days later, it showed that the child had both a staph infection and a strep bacterial infection.
While Bactrim is a proper antibiotic to treat a staph infection, it is not an appropriate antibiotic to treat a strep infection. The nurse practitioner allegedly did not look at the lab results and therefore the proper antibiotic to treat the child’s strep infection was not timely provided.
When the child’s condition deteriorated because she was not receiving the proper medication, her parents brought her to the Hilo Medical Center’s emergency room on September 10 and then again on September 13, but the emergency room medical staff failed to make the proper diagnosis and released her to home. The severely sick child was finally admitted to the hospital on September 17, but she died on September 18, 2012.
An autopsy concluded that the child had died of acute rheumatic carditis, which is very rare in a child.
A medical expert retained by Hilo Medical Center agreed that the federally qualified clinic had breached the standard of care in the treatment of the child by its failure to notify the child’s parents once the lab results were made available, to change the antibiotic to one that would effectively treat the child’s strep infection (Pacific Islanders are particularly susceptible to serious complications if a strep infection is left untreated).
After the Hawaii medical malpractice case was settled, the plaintiffs’ Hawaii medical malpractice lawyer stated, “The nurse practitioner never apparently looks at the culture and just gives this broad spectrum antibiotic, Bactrim, which is fine for staph, but not for strep. The sad fact is there was a very unnecessary death and she was not properly cared for on many occasions.”
If you or a family member were injured (or worse) due to medical malpractice in Hawaii, you should promptly find a Hawaii medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a Hawaii medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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