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Jury Awards $2 Million in Medical Malpractice Case

A medical malpractice case involving the tragic death of three year old twin brothers recently ended with a verdict for the plaintiffs, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

The terrible trauma that still haunts the Legge family occurred in April 2006, when two of the family’s twin boys visited a Maryland otolaryngologist to perform basic tonsillectomies. The procedures were supposed to be routine operations without too much risk. In fact, hundreds of thousands of these procedures occur every year across the country without any complications. Following the surgery the doctor discharged the brothers with a note indicating that everything was normal. The boys, A.J. and Joshua were prescribed pain medication and were home in the afternoon.

However, the very night that they arrived back home following the surgery, one of the twins, A.J., stopped breathing. Shortly after midnight his parents called 911, and an ambulance arrived to rush him to the hospital. The emergency room doctors did everything that they could, but A.J. died shortly after arriving.

At the same time, back at their home, the other twin, Joshua had stayed with a neighbor while A.J. was rushed to the hospital. Just about the time that the emergency room doctor was informing the family that A.J. could not be saved, Joshua had also stopped breathing. Another ambulance was called, but it was too late for him as well. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The unbelievably tragic loss of both children hours from one another was eventually discovered to have been caused by a cerebral edema, or fluid on the brain. The medication prescribed for the children after the surgery had caused the fatal stoppage of breath. The children had a pre-existing condition that made it impossible for them to properly process the pain medication.

The risk of the boys breathing was made clear to the doctor before the procedures, because their mother had informed him of the kids history of snoring and breathing trouble while asleep. However, even knowing that, the doctor did not request for the children to stay overnight in the hospital following the surgery, which was a standard process for patients under three years old-especially those with a history of breathing trouble.

After hearing all of the evidence, a jury in the medical malpractice case found that the doctor had been negligent in his treatment following the surgery. That negligence had directly led to the children’s death.

The Legge family tragedy serves as a reminder than even routine medical procedures involve inherent risk that should be carefully monitored. That risk is even more pronounced when the medical professionals charged with the task fails to follow basic security protocols to ensure the patient’s safety. If you or anyone you know has suffered similar tragedy that could have been prevented, please contact our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti today.