In 2015, a Pennsylvania family lost their 11-month-old son in a medical malpractice situation that was arguably completely preventable. The parents took their son to a Geisinger Health System facility in Plains Township because the child had suffered with diarrhea and vomiting for several days.
According to the petition filed by the child's parents, the facility took nearly one full day to diagnose the boy and make the decision to have him transferred to Danville's Janet Weis Children's Hospital. The boy's condition involved a portion of the intestine telescoping into itself and is considered a medical emergency.
Despite this, the doctors with the Geisinger facility chose not to order an airlift for the child. Instead, they sent him to Danville in a Trans-Med Ambulance. Reportedly, the ambulance did not activate its lights or its sirens while transporting the child.
By the time he arrived at the Danville facility, he was agitated, grunting and his heart was racing. He became unresponsive at that time and died despite efforts to save his life. The 11-month-old's cause of death was septic shock because of his intestinal condition and dehydration.
Elements that make this case medical malpractice include delay in diagnosing the condition and preventable delay in getting the child potentially life-saving treatment. Because the death might have been prevented, the child's parents and their attorney did the right thing by using the law to hold those responsible to account.
The preventable death of a child at the hands of medical professionals is always tragic. One of the few tools parents have to find closure is seeking a remedy through the law. The family in this matter settled its case for $6.5 million, but all injury lawyers know that it is not about the money -- it is about responsibility. This is why attorneys always support the bereaved when they decide to take legal action for the death of a loved one.
Source: The Citizens' Voice, "Geisinger will pay $6.5M in death of infant," James Halpin, April 14, 2018