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Birth Brain Damage Suit: Govt. to Pay $11M

By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 23, 2010 10:03 AM

A birth brain damage suit against the government has been settled for $11 million. The injury, which occurred on Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, left now 4 year-old Kayla Mae McCraw with permanent brain damage. Tripler Army Medical Center was also the center of a pediatric malpractice settlement in 2006 that awarded a family $16.5 million when doctors gave a newborn carbon dioxide instead of oxygen, resulting in severe brain damage.

Fox News reports that medical errors unnecessarily delayed Kayla's delivery and caused her to be born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. When she was delivered, she was limp and not breathing. It then took medical staff 40 minutes to realize that the much-needed oxygen tube was initially misplaced. The series of errors were the cause of Kayla's physical condition today: a spastic quadriplegic suffering from cerebral palsy. Kayla has to be fed from a feeding tube for the rest of her life.

The Star Advisor quotes Tripler Hospital's Janet Clark:

"The circumstances surrounding the November 2005 birth of Kayla McCraw at Tripler Army Medical Center were an unfortunate tragedy. Tripler accepts full responsibility for the outcome, resulting in its decision to support the settlement of the lawsuit brought by Kayla and her family. Tripler is especially gratified in knowing that the settlement monies will ensure that Kayla will receive the medical care, assistance, and rehabilitation that she needs for the rest of her life."

The pre-trial settlement figure was so unusually large for the government that it required the approval of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The sizeable settlement will be placed in an annuity account for the care and treatment of Kayla for the rest of her life. Medical malpractice cases can be extremely complicated because of the highly technical nature of many procedures, and the individual health issues associated with each patient. In the case of Kayla McCraw, it was a series of medical missteps that led to the ultimate disaster and the fact that the government settled before going to trial and for such a large figure is a recognition of the tragic errors.

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