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Lengthy ER delay results in multiple amputations for toddler

Last year, medical malpractice at a hospital emergency room caused a 2-year-old girl to suffer amputations of both of her feet, as well as her left hand and a portion of her right hand. Recently, a jury has awarded her family $10 million to pay for her ongoing care.

The girl's parents rushed her to a hospital in November 2010, after the child exhibited weakness, discoloration of her skin, and a fever. Despite begging emergency room personnel to do something to treat their daughter's increasing sickness and weakness, they were repeatedly told to just wait. Astonishingly, five hours passed before any doctor took a look at the child.

The parents could see that the bruising on their daughter's body was spreading, affecting her face, arms and legs. They were terrified that she might even die without receiving medical attention. By the time she was seen by a doctor, it was almost too late. She had to be flown to another facility, where personnel diagnosed her as suffering from an infection of Streptococcus A bacteria. The amputations were required to save her life.

The money awarded by the jury will be put into a trust fund to pay for her ongoing care, and the amount paid out will increase over time to keep pace with an expected increase in expenses. She will need wheelchairs, custom designed prosthetics, customized clothing and various costly medications for her whole life. The child has been outfitted with artificial legs, and she has undergone therapy to help her to walk on them.

Although no amount of money can truly compensate this girl for the harm that medical malpractice inflicted upon her, her family will now have the resources necessary to pay for her care.

Source: Associated Press, "Girl to get $10M for amputations after ER delay," Oct. 28, 2011

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