CASE REPORT / SUMMARY

Style of Case:
John and Jane Doe, on behalf of their minor deceased child vs. Hospital

Court and Case No.:
Not applicable as this case was resolved pursuant to the Florida Arbitration Statutes prior to the filing of any lawsuit.

Trial Judge:
Not applicable.

Trial Date:
None

Plaintiff’s Attorney:
Brett Alan Panter, from the Law Firm of Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., 6950 North Kendall Drive, Miami, Florida 33156. E-mail: bpanter@panterlaw.com; Website: www.panterlaw.com;

Defendants’ Attorneys:
Not applicable as this case was completely resolved with claims management for the applicable Hospital.

Description of Liability Aspect of Case & Description of Plaintiff:

The decedent was born 25 weeks of gestation at the defendant hospital. The child remained in the NICU for approximately 16 weeks. At birth the child was 13 ounces and suffered from a Grade 3 and Grade 4 bilateral brain hemorrhage at birth. The child suffered pneumonia while at the NICU, and had two brain surgeries on July and August of 2010 while at the defendant hospital. The decedent child was discharged after approximately 16 weeks of hospitalization. On September, 2010, the decedent’s head circumference was noted to be somewhat enlarged. On September 28, 2010, the child was readmitted to the defendant hospital and a shunt was placed with a diagnosis of hydrocephalus. The decedent child went home and began a regiment of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The family reported no cognitive deficits. The decedent child was noted to have cerebral palsy but the family noted the limitations were physical only and relatively minor. On November 4, 2011 a bump was noted on the left side of the decedent child’s head and the child’s parents took the child to the defendant hospital, the same hospital the child was born at and the neurosurgeon attended to the child. At that time it was felt that because the child’s symptoms were asymptomatic no immediate action was necessary and it was suggested the child simply be monitored.

On December 14, 2011 the family took the decedent minor child to the pediatrician. The mom told the doctor about the bump on their child’s head which was enlarging. On December 19, 2011, the family called the neurosurgeon and on December 21, 2011 the bump was noted to be a little bit larger but the child was still asymptomatic. Because of the enlarging bump, the family scheduled an appointment with the neurosurgeon at the defendant hospital. On December 22, 2011 a CAT scan was done at the defendant hospital. The ventricles were noted to be enlarged and/or increasing. On December 26, 2011the family was informed that the child was fine and if there were any changes they should go directly to the emergency room. The family called the neurosurgeon doctor on Christmas day and the family was told to come in on Tuesday, December 27th. On Tuesday, December 27th the parents brought the decedent child to the defendant hospital and there were problems inserting the I.V. Anesthesia came to help to do this so that the MRI could be done. The I.V. was started with the use of general anesthesia that was needed for the MRI. From the parents perspective the child seemed to be doing fine after the MRI. On Wednesday, December 28, 2011 the decedent child was picked up for the scheduled surgery to take place at 8:00 a.m. There was an endoscopic procedure to be done and everything seemed to be fine at this point in time. Unfortunately, the decedent child needed to be returned to surgery for what appeared to be some sort of coiling of the catheter. At approximately 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. the decedent child was returned to surgery and the parents were told to meet down at the PICU. At this point they were still told everything was fine with their child. During that night the child began a stiffening motion like the parents had never seen before. The parents relayed that there was no history of seizures before this time. On December 29, 2011 another MRI was taken. On Sunday, January 1, 2012 a repeat CT scan was done and the doctors reported to the family it looked like much more damage than they had expected. Unfortunately, the child suffered for many days prior to dying and never left the hospital and died on February 26, 2012.

It is suspected there may have been a problem with cerebral perfusion during the surgery; however, the anesthesia records in this case did not substantiate that. Some of the possible scenarios related to the death of this young child include anesthesia related issues and/or an increased cerebral pressure during the procedure. At no point during the child’s care were the 02 stats low. The evidence was clear that the endoscopic procedure was appropriate. One of the theories of this case was that there was an increase in intracranial pressure during the procedure which caused the problem; however, it may not have been documented. Plaintiff’s expert gave the opinion that this was a preterm infant who had a brain hemorrhage that is not an uncommon problem and had surgical treatment which was only temporarily successful, that’s also not uncommon. Records suggest that in spite of all that, the baby was doing relatively well although there is a suspicion that there would have been some neurological problems in which area the expert stated that he believes that in the insertion of the catheter didn’t work properly and he believes what happened was there was massive intracranial pressure and that the baby herniated and all those abnormalities on the EEG could really be hypoxia. The brain herniation means that the brain shifted into a position within the skull and the brain is injured separately by this event. Experts opined that the baby herniated because the catheter wasn’t inserted effectively and then re-operated but then it was already too late.

Description of Injuries:
Death.

Treating Doctors:
Doctors cannot be disclosed based on the confidentiality of the settlement.

Defense of this Claim:
Causation defense were mentioned but based on Florida Arbitration Statute liability was admitted.

Expert Witnesses Hired by Plaintiff:
The Plaintiff hired neurosurgeons and pediatric neurologists to review this case, however, as stated; the case was settled even prior to pre-suit based on truthful and full disclosures between the parties.

Jury Verdict/Settlement:
The case was settled pursuant to the arbitration provisions in Florida. The arbitration statutes cap noneconomic damages at $250,000.00 per claimant, per incident pursuant to Florida Statute 766.207(b). If the plaintiff refuses to arbitrate and goes to jury trial, noneconomic damages are capped at $350,000.00 per claimant, per incident pursuant to Florida Statute 766.209(4)(a). This case was settled without arbitration and without mediation for $722,653.00.

Notes and Comments:
The defendant hospital waived all hospital bills thus mitigating economic damages. This was a tragic loss. The Florida statutes substantially affected our ability to properly have our clients compensated for such a loss. Our firm’s dedications to our clients and reputation for our commitment enabled us to settle this claim for the maximum allowable amount under Florida law without the hardship of years of litigation.
We will continue to fight for changes in the law which allow for a full compensation for all those whose lives have been harmed by the negligence of others.