Family Awarded $24 Million In Damages


A three-year old boy was left with permanent brain damage after undergoing a routine surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. The victim’s mother ended up suing not only the medical center where the child had undergone surgery but also the infusion pump manufacturer, who allegedly created a pump that failed when it delivered epinephrine into the child’s body during surgery. The failure triggered cardiac arrest and the victim now suffers from irreversible brain damage

The jury determined that the victim, now nine years old, should be awarded $20 million in future medical expenses. Both the medical center and the medical device companies settled with the families out of court.

Abbott Laboratories and Hospira Inc manufactured the pump. Both were found liable under Louisiana’s products liability laws for having an “unreasonably dangerous infusion pump.” The medical center admitted liability and ended up paying only $100,000 under the state’s medical malpractice cap. The cap however appears to trigger use of the state’s malpractice fund, called the Louisiana Patients Compensation Fund, which paid the victim and his family $8.5 million of the award designated by the jury.

The medical device companies settled for an undisclosed amount. Because the settlement was confidential, it will likely never be known whether the jury awarded more or less than the companies settled for with the victim.

Had it not been for the involvement of the medical device companies, the victim and his family would not have received the compensation for the victim’s future medical expenses that they deserved. The Louisiana state cap law could have been disastrous for this family had they not been “fortunate” enough to have another defendant with deep pockets involved.

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