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Withheld County, MA

In this medical malpractice matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant hospital, and its staff, was negligent in failing to diagnose necrosis of the patient’s small bowel which resulted in fatal sepsis. The patient was 13 years old at the time of her death. The defendant denied any deviation from acceptable standards of care, and disputed the plaintiff’s allegations of injuries and damages.

The 13-year-old female patient was transferred to the defendant hospital following admission to another smaller hospital following a motor vehicle accident. She was the rear seat belted passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a single vehicle collision. The patient was examined, and a CT scan of her abdomen was performed at the first hospital which revealed a laceration of her spleen and free fluid. She was transferred to the defendant hospital with these CT scan images. Her initial diagnosis was confirmed by the defendant’s ER physician and pediatric surgeon, allegedly in conjunction with consultation with a radiologist who reviewed the films with them. The patient’s health worsened as she began to demonstrate tachycardia, tachypnea, low urine output, and complained of abdominal pain. She had external signs of abdominal trauma consistent with a seat belt injury. Despite this, the defendant’s physicians failed to take any additional imaging, and failed to take any other action on the patient’s behalf. The plaintiff maintained that these symptoms were consistent with sepsis, and should have been recognized as such by the hospital staff and appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment undertaken immediately. Instead, after the patient’s condition had worsened considerably, she was finally seen by the defendant’s chief trauma surgeon who determined that she required immediate exploratory surgery to diagnose the cause of her serious illness. While she was being prepared for surgery, the patient suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. During the surgery, it was determined that she was suffering from necrotic bowel which had been liquefied as a result of lack of blood flow from the injury to her superior mesenteric artery, which was visible on the initial CT imaging. The patient was so unstable that the surgery had to be abandoned. She arrested again in the ICU and died. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant hospital alleging that its physicians were negligent in failing to timely diagnose and treat her condition which resulted in her untimely death from undiagnosed sepsis due to the undiagnosed necrotic bowel. The plaintiff also alleged that the hospital’s failure to properly supervise its residents that cared for the plaintiff’s decedent was a contributing cause of her death.

The defendant denied that there was any deviation from acceptable standards of care, and disputed the plaintiff’s allegations of injuries and damages.

The parties negotiated a settlement of $________ following mediation to resolve the plaintiff’s claims prior to a trial.

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