Case# 4004: Failure To Diagnose Infant’s Bowel Obstruction Leads To Massive And Irreversible Brain Injury

Verdict/ Settlement

$5,000,000

Summary

On August 25, the Infant Plaintiff was born uneventfully and was discharged to go home with his mother shortly thereafter. Approximately one month after birth, the Infant Plaintiff began vomiting during the morning hours. His parents telephoned the Defendant pediatrician who informed them that the vomiting was probably due to the introduction of formula instead of breast milk. The parents were advised to try different formulas. At 5:00 p.m. that same day, the infant began to have dark, bloody, gel-like stool. The parents immediately informed the Defendant who again advised that the change in formula was irritating the infant’s system, and that they should stop the new formula and begin Pedialyte.

At 9:00 a.m. the following morning, the mother again called the Defendant because the infant would not take the Pedialyte. At 3:00 p.m., the Plaintiffs presented to the Defendant’s office for evaluation. The infant’s abdomen was distended with tympania and decreased bowel sounds. Instead of sending the infant directly to the hospital for evaluation and intervention, the Defendant negligently advised the Plaintiffs to give the infant Mylicon drops and a glycerin suppository. The Defendant negligently failed to rule out bowel obstruction. Later that day, the Plaintiffs telephoned the Defendant again because, despite the medications, the infant had no bowel movement. At that time, the Defendant finally advised the parents to take the child to the emergency department.

The Plaintiffs arrived at the Defendant Hospital at approximately 6:55 p.m. The infant was jaundiced, moaning, and had a distended abdomen. At 7:45 p.m., the Defendant emergency room physician finally evaluated the infant. In addition to the same clinical findings above, abdominal x-rays further revealed multiple distended small bowel loops with multiple air fluid levels consistent with a small bowel obstruction. Amazingly, no surgeon arrived to even evaluate the infant until 10:08 p.m. At 10:45 p.m. the decision was made to transfer the infant to another hospital for intervention, and then it was not until approximately 1:00 a.m. on September 10, before the infant actually arrived. By the time the infant arrived at the new hospital, he had sustained severe respiratory distress. Most of his bowel had to be removed and he sustained massive and irreversible brain injury due to a shortage of oxygen to his brain — all due to the negligence of these Defendants.