An 8 year-old infant, born with a cleft palate, was taken to a pediatric surgeon for a repair. The operation was performed in the OR of a local hospital, following which, gauze pads were placed inside the cheeks so as to absorb any of the blood that resulted from the procedure. During the night, it was noted that the child could not breathe, and was turning blue. Emergency care procedures were started immediately at which time a piece of gauze that had migrated into the wind pipe, was removed. Following the removal, the child’s vital signs returned to normal, except that tragically, the child’s brain was deprived of oxygen long enough to cause brain damage.
The case was ultimately settled during the fourth day of trial for an amount that was more than twice the sum the defendant stated was his final offer (made just before trial). We recommended the offer be rejected. While the defense had medical experts who would have testified that the defendant did not depart from accepted medical practice, and what happened was an unfortunate accident, and not medical malpractice, our medical experts were prepared to testify that leaving gauze pads in the mouth of a child of such tender years, was a departure from good and accepted medical standards.
Although proving medical negligence is usually a difficult challenge, we call upon skill, preparation, experience, and dedication to our client’s cause, in order to aggressively meet that challenge.