Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Involving Infant Brain Damage Settled By Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health entered a confidential settlement in a medical malpractice lawsuit with the family whose child suffered brain damage from a negligently performed blood transfusion. This settlement ended the two-year legal battle and the family’s four-year struggle to make the hospital account for their negligent actions in the treatment of their daughter.
A medical malpractice lawsuit was brought upon Spectrum Health after they stopped providing care for an infant who suffered brain damage purportedly after an incorrect blood transfusion. The terms of the settlement where not released but it is reported that Spectrum Health has agreed to pay a confidential amount to help care for the child.
In 2010, mother Regina Gort gave birth to a healthy baby girl at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, owned by Spectrum Health. The baby was her third child, and at first, all seemed well. Within a few hours, the baby started to look jaundiced, which is a yellowing of the eyes or skin due to a buildup of bilirubin in the body. Jaundice is a common condition in infants, and is usually treated with light therapy in mild cases. If left untreated, severe jaundice can lead to brain damage. According to case reports, the doctor thought Baby Gort was not responding to phototherapy fast enough and decided to perform an exchange transfusion and give the baby fresh blood to prevent brain damage. [http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/08/spectrum_health_parents_reach.html, August, 2014]
The case report states that the procedure was done incorrectly, allowing air to get into the tubes bringing the new blood into the baby’s body. The excess air caused the newborn to go into cardiac arrest, which caused significant brain damage. The damage was so severe; the baby will require lifelong care. At the time of the accident, the doctor admitted his mistake to the Gorts. In addition to apologizing, he also wrote a note of apology to the parents. Several other staff members also apologized. The hospital took action by providing physical therapy, a home, a van, and compensation for lost wages.
Over time, Spectrum began to remove their support. The Gorts submitted an estimate for the cost of the baby’s lifetime care, and the company did not respond for over two years. When the family questioned Spectrum, the company told the family that the support terms were being “re-evaluated.” When Spectrum stopped providing any care for the child, the Gorts sued the hospital for medical malpractice in 2012. The trial was set to begin on August 4th, 2014 when both parties came to an agreement before the trial begun. Bruce Rossman, spokesperson for Spectrum Health, said the medical malpractice lawsuit was “resolved to satisfaction of all parties.” “We are thankful justice has been served,” Pylman said. “We are just thankful for finality for Tim and Gina.”