toddlers amputations blamed on medical malpractice

A toddler who was brought to an emergency room in Sacramento was forced to wait for five hours before being seen, despite her parents’ begging staff for treatment. The girl grew visibly sicker as the parents waited.

The tragedy is that the girl was forced to wait while Streptococcus A ravaged her blood and organs. As a result the little girl suffered multiple amputations. She lost both of her feet, all of her left hand and part of her right hand. The girl is now receiving intensive rehabilitation therapy. The girl’s parents have sued the hospital for medical malpractice.

It was November when the girl’s parents brought her to the emergency room after she had experienced a long-lasting fever, discoloration of the skin, and persistent weakness. As the hours passed, the girl grew visibly more ill. Her parents could not get staff to examine her. After five hours, the girl’s father forced his way past the waiting room and demanded treatment for his daughter.

The medical malpractice lawsuit names the hospital and five of the emergency room staff as defendants, alleging negligence and delay of treatment for the girl. She was later flown to a children’s hospital for lifesaving treatment.

The lawsuit says that the hospital “chose to negligently staff, operate and supervise the emergency room,” and that this negligence caused the horrific injuries to the little girl.

Although some doctors have said that the girl’s condition was due to genetics, and that a swifter response may not have saved her from the amputations, Pennsylvania hospital negligence attorneys consider that a rather weak defense, to say the least.

Anywhere in the United States, hospitals have procedures in place to prevent dangerous delays in treatment. It is hard to believe that this hospital’s standard procedure was to make desperately ill patients wait for hours without being examined. It seems more reasonable to suspect that something went wrong, that someone made a mistake, or that the staff for some reason were either unable or unwilling to provide proper treatment in a timely fashion. The results were tragic, and the failure to provide treatment has the appearance of medical malpractice.

Source: Sacramento Bee “Lawsuit alleges ER negligence in treating toddler’s infection” 2/15/2011

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