September 21, 2015

In a medical malpractice trial which involved the death a seven year old child, a jury in Fort Myers, Florida returned a verdict in favor of the defendants, represented by Kevin O’Connor in our Miami office. 

The plaintiff alleged that the health care defendants failed to diagnose a bacterial infection when the  minor decedent was brought to the emergency department. In particular, they alleged that the nurse practitioner failed to order laboratory studies which would have revealed a bacterial infection despite the fact that the orders were already in the electronic medical record. The nurse practitioner had determined that the testing was not medically indicated.

As a result of not undertaking the testing, the plaintiff alleged that the child was misdiagnosed with a viral syndrome, rather an infection, which evolved into a bacterial meningitis and an empyema; i.e., a collection of pus in the subdural space of the brain, which resulted in his death. Alternatively, the plaintiff argued that the child was misdiagnosed with a viral syndrome, instead of bacterial meningitis, which delayed the treatment for the meningitis and led to his death.  It was the position of the defense that the nurse practitioner correctly diagnosed the child with a viral syndrome.

The defense argued that there were insufficient clinical signs and symptoms of infection, much less bacterial meningitis, at the time of her work up. Additionally, the child was discharged with specific instructions to his mother that he be brought back in two days, regardless of his condition, so that the fever he originally presented with could be rechecked. The child was not returned but rather sent to school. 

After six days of trial and seven hours of deliberation, the jury agreed with the defense and found in favor of all remaining defendants.  

Kevin O’Connor