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Ignored jaundice leads to $26 million award for child

A six-year-old boy was awarded $26 million in a medical malpractice suit brought by his mother against doctors at the hospital where he was born. The boy cannot speak and requires round-the-clock medical care since doctors discharged him when he had contracted jaundice.

His mother said that she was concerned about her baby’s yellowing skin and sought help from hospital staff, but nurses dismissed her concerns and sent her home, insisting that the boy’s coloring would normalize on its own. It did not.

This case is an example of a highly preventable injury that has had a lifelong impact on the child and his whole family. With proper treatment for the jaundice that his mother detected early on, the boy would have likely been fine since the disease is very common among newborns and is readily treated. However, if it goes untreated it can develop into a more severe illness that causes brain damage and cerebral palsy.

The large award given by the jury will go towards the constant medical care and assistance that the boy will need for his entire life. These types of settlements are essential for those left with a lifelong disability since some insurance policies will not cover all of the necessary treatment or will limit choices when it comes to in-home aids or specialists. Personal injury settlements help insure that injured patients can get the care they need regardless of their insurance status, which is particularly important for children who may never be able to earn their own income or obtain employer-based insurance as a result of an injury from medical malpractice.

Source: New York Daily News, Disabled Brooklyn boy awarded $25 million in untreated jaundice case against New York Methodist Hospital, Doyle Murphy, Nov. 19, 2013

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Alan D. Bell
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