Pennsylvania News

Hospital Settles Malpractice Claim for $6.2 Million

A Pennsylvania hospital has agreed to pay $6.2 million in damages to a 9-year-old boy left severely brain damaged after a routine tonsillectomy.

As part of the settlement agreement, the hospital must hire full-time staff for anesthesia, provide annual emergency training to its pediatric staff, and have at least two on-call anesthesiologists in case of pediatric emergencies.

Jahmir's Tragedy

Jahmir Bates was admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital in August 2005 to have his tonsils removed. According to a spokesman for Pennsylvania's Department of Health, tonsillectomies are low-risk, common procedures.

However, doctors failed to check Bates' medical history – which showed that the boy had been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea – prior to the operation. Consequently, Bates suffered respiratory failure and ultimately brain damage after the anesthesia was administered.

Failure to Provide Adequate Care

According to his family's complaint, Bates is now blind, mute, and incapable of walking or eating. The lawsuit claimed that the hospital, several doctors, and a nurse were negligent and failed to provide proper anesthesia care.

The hospital released a statement saying it, “regrets this terrible tragedy that occurred during the care of Jahmir Bates.”

Thomas Kline, Bates' attorney, praised the hospital for acknowledging responsibility.

“The hospital was willing to publicly recognize the core problem which contributed to this boy's injury: …Its pediatric and anesthesia care was not sufficient,” Kline said.

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