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Medical malpractice suit ends with $1.25 million jury award

Grieving families want to know someone has been held accountable when they suffer the loss of a loved one. Panama City doctors are skilled, safe and ethical practitioners of medicine who can be trusted to provide excellent care. But if a doctor or hospital should fail in that task, medical malpractice laws are in place to protect victims and survivors.

Surgical errors, medication mistakes, delayed or misdiagnosis and negligence are some common medical practices that can be affected by human error. In another state, the death of a 3-day-old infant has recently been attributed to negligence on the part of a radiologist. Her parents filed a lawsuit against the doctor's estate and the company for which he worked. Reports last week confirm a jury has awarded them $1.25 million.

The child died in 2009. Records show she was born healthy, but prematurely, at 34 weeks gestation. Weighing five pounds, the baby was fed through an umbilical cord catheter. The process involved inserting the catheter into an artery or vein of the cord. X-rays are taken to be sure the catheter is properly placed for feeding.

The suit alleged that despite an x-ray at feeding time showing the catheter tip was in the baby's heart, the radiologist recorded no abnormalities. Failure of the doctor to report the problem caused fluid to accumulate around her heart. She suffered cardiac arrest. The plaintiffs claim if the doctor had noted the erroneous placement of the catheter, it could have been adjusted, and she wouldn't have died.

The 63-year-old radiologist passed away prior to the parents filing suit. Although the jury found that the doctor's inaction didn't directly cause the little girl's death, they did determine his failure to advise medical personnel of the placement was negligence.

Florida victims of medical malpractice are entitled to pursue compensation and accountability from those they trusted for health care. Humans make mistakes. But if a careful, experienced review of a particular situation reveals evidence of neglect or abuse, laws are in place to provide for recovery and financial penalties for those deemed to be answerable.

Source: MLive, "Grand Rapids couple awarded $1.25 million in malpractice suit after infant daughter’s death" Heidi Fenton, Mar. 27, 2014

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