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ARTICLE ID 199821

$________ – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – EMERGENCY ROOM NEGLIGENCE – PHYSICIAN DISCHARGED 16-MONTH-OLD PLAINTIFF WHO PRESENTED SEVERAL HOURS EARLIER WITH SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A COLD AND A PULSE OF ________ – PNEUMOCOCCAL STREP WAS DIAGNOSED AT SUBSEQUENT NON-PARTY HOSPITAL FOUR DAYS LATER – DELAY IN DIAGNOSIS RESULTED IN MULTIPLE SURGERIES AND DIALYSIS DURING 3 MONTHS OF HOSPITALIZATION.

Essex County, NJ

In this medical malpractice action, the plaintiff contended that when the then 16-month-old infant plaintiff was brought to the hospital with symptoms of an apparent cold, and her pulse was measured at ________, the defendant emergency room physician failed to realize that the highly elevated pulse was indicative of a much more serious illness and discharged the patient prematurely. The plaintiff claimed that although the records taken before the child was released several hours after presenting with a ________ degree fever reflected that the fever had gone down, there was no indication in the records that the defendant ascertained whether the pulse was brought down into a range in which it was safe to discharge the patient. The plaintiff asserted that the child actually suffered bacteremia leading to pneumococcal strep and that the failure to diagnose it for four days resulted in damage to both kidneys that necessitated short-term dialysis, multiple surgeries, the use of a feeding tube for a number of years – which has ceased – and the significant risk for future dialysis and some risk for a future kidney transplant.

The plaintiff also maintained that the kidney medicine is contraindicated for pregnancy, and that if the infant plaintiff wants to become pregnant in the future, she will need to stop taking the medication. The infant plaintiff, currently 14 years old, does not currently exhibit signs of illness and appears to be living a normal and active life.

The parents had brought the baby to the hospital because of the fever and apparent signs of a very significant cold. The defendant noted a pulse of ________. The infant was in the emergency room for several hours and plaintiff maintained that although the fever was reduced, there were no indications in the record that the pulse was checked again before the child was discharged several hours later with instructions to the parents to return in four days if the child was not better.

The plaintiff maintained that the highly elevated nature of the pulse was indicative of a much more serious condition and that the baby should not have been discharged before highly dangerous infections were addressed. The plaintiff maintained that a proper work-up would have led to the timely diagnosis of pneumococcal strep and prompt administration of antibiotics which would have enabled the child to overcome the condition without long-term injury.

The defendant asserted that a clerical error with the records had probably occurred and denied that the child would be discharged unless the pulse had been checked and sufficiently reduced.

The plaintiff countered that the continued elevation was very consistent with the course of this infection and the plaintiff would have argued that the defendant’s position should be rejected.

The infant plaintiff was brought to the subsequent non-party hospital four days later and pneumococcal strep was diagnosed a short time later.

The plaintiff asserted that as a result of the delay, she suffered damage to both kidneys and required dialysis during a portion of the approximate 3-month hospitalization. The child also was kept in a medically-induced coma for a significant portion of the hospitalization. The evidence further reflected that the child required a feeding tube for approximately five years.

Although the child currently does not exhibit outward signs of injury and leads a relatively normal life, the plaintiffs maintained that she will permanently require kidney medication that will need to be withdrawn when she attempts to become pregnant as an adult. The defendants claimed that with appropriate monitoring, the medication can be temporarily halted without ill effects. The plaintiff would have countered that the jury should consider that it could well take a significant period for the plaintiff to successfully conceive and that when such a factor is considered, she may well be required to withdraw the medication for an extended period, heightening the risk of additional kidney disease.

The plaintiff further contended that the jury should consider that she will probably require future dialysis and is at risk of requiring a kidney transplant.The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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