Fox News 40 recently shared information on an agreement in a medical malpractice case involving a horrible medical error that has scarred a young child. This is one of those cases that acts as an important testament to the fact that medical mistakes occur far too frequently, involving basic lapses in care, and often cause permanent injury to vulnerable patients who relied on their caregivers to their own detriment.
Antibiotic IV Medical Error
According to the report, the young girl was in a local facility in September when something went terribly wrong. The story is somewhat sparse on the details, but somehow a medical caregiver accidentally missed the girl’s vein when setting up for intravenous medication. As a result, when antibiotics were pumped through the IV, the drugs did not go into the girl’s vein and throughout her body via the bloodstream. Instead, the drugs were pumped directly into her hand. This error had serious consequences. Before the problem was caught the girl suffered third degree burns. Unlike most burns which occur from the outside of the skin, the girl’s burns in this case were internal. The girl is still recovering from her ordeal, and it is unclear what long-term consequences she might experience as a result of the medical mistake. Right now she is wearing a compression glove in hopes of limiting the permanent scarring.
The facility admitted the error. The news article quotes one representative as saying that “We are very sorry that this occurred and understand how distressing it is…A situation like this should not occur.”
Obviously the young girl’s family was outraged. And they sought accountability by seeking out a medical malpractice attorney to share their story and understand how the law might apply in their case. Unfortunately, this particular hosptial requires all patients to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement when entering the facility.
However, the family pursued the case anyway. They went through the arbitration process and eventually reached a settlement with the facility for the errors. It is unclear what the settlement was for, because the agreement is private and the details of the arbitration process are not made public. However, in previous demands, the family asked that the nurses of the facility be required to receive extra training to ensure that similar errors do not occur in the future. It is unclear if that demand was followed through as part of the settlement.
Accountability Following Medical Errors
It is important for families like this one to come forward and ensure there is accountability for these mistakes. Sadly, obvious errors like this one occur far more than most suspect. The problems frequently bunch up at certain facilities which often have chronic malpractice problems. If the errors keep getting swept under the rug, then little to nothing is done to ensure changes are made to spare future victims. It is usually only when a family comes forward and says “enough” that real progress is made.
Sometimes there are roadblocks thrown in front of that progress–such as the mandatory arbitration clause included in hosptial admission papers. However, there are times when this can be worked around or when the aribitration process itself can be used to ensure there remains accountability and redress to improve care down the road.
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