The Associated Press reports that the family of a California toddler whose feet, left hand and part of her right hand were amputated because of a lengthy emergency room delay has agreed to a $10 million malpractice settlement.
Malyia Jeffers was 2 years old when her parents took her to Sacramento's Methodist Hospital last November with a fever, skin discoloration and weakness. According to court documents, the family was told to wait.
"While in the waiting room, Malyia grew sicker and weaker," according to the complaint filed in Superior Court in Sacramento on Feb. 14. "The parents of Malyia repeatedly asked and begged (hospital workers) to treat their daughter." The hospital instead told them to continue waiting, and it was five hours before Malyia was first seen by a doctor, the document said.
"Ryan Jeffers and Leah Yang saw their daughter get weaker and sicker hour after hour as (hospital workers) chose to delay treatment," the complaint said. "They saw the bruising on her body increase, affecting her legs, arms and face. They were afraid she would die in the waiting room." Malyia was flown to Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Doctors there found that Streptococcus A bacteria had invaded her blood and organs, and they performed the amputations.
Court documents show that most of the money will be placed in a trust for Malyia's current needs and an annuity that will provide her with $16,932 a month when she turns 18. The monthly payment grows over time, so that by the time Malyia is 30, the monthly payout will be nearly double.
Malyia is still undergoing therapy and will need expensive medications, custom prosthetics, special garments and wheelchairs for the rest of her life.
Patients who are harmed as a result of delay in treatment deserve compensation for their injuries. This young girl will spend the rest of her life without the ability to walk or the use of her left hand, and will have to cope with the limited use of her right hand. This sort of settlment is not meant to be a windfall for the family, but to help care for their young daughter for the rest of her life. This is the sort of case that exemplifies why there should not be a legislative cap on noneconomic damages. In the state of Missouri, the medical malpractice cap stands at $350,000, which surely would not be a reasonable compensation for a two year old who can no longer walk or use her hands properly.
If you or someone you know has been harmed as a result of medical malpractice, please contact us at alvinwolff.com or 314-241-2500 for a free consultation.