A Southern California hospital has agreed to a record $20 million settlement in a case involving a newborn left brain damaged by an error, which is the largest malpractice settlement ever in California.
The child was harmed by a nursing staff member who failed to properly monitor a feeding tube, which resulted in brain damage, says the family’s San Diego attorney Michael Bomberger, JD. The entire $20 million settlement, including payment disbursements, will be protected and supervised by the courts. The confidential settlement doesn’t allow the hospital to be named.
The case took more than three years to resolve, and it was settled only after the hospital was faced with a trial before a jury, Bomberger says. In preparing the case for trial, Bomberger and his trial team conducted nearly 20 focus groups, prepared strategies to depose defense experts, and identified the weak points in the hospital’s case, he says.
The litigation team consulted with and retained medical experts to determine the extent of the harm and the level of care that would be required for the child, Bomberger notes. That information was used to develop a future prognosis for the child and come up with a life care plan that would ensure the child received the level of care that was appropriate, he says.
In most cases involving this type of brain damage, both parties agree to the use of a certified nursing assistant at an average of $17 an hour, Bomberger says. However, in this case, the foreseeable problems will require a registered nurse at an average of $47 an hour due to the high probability of seizures, shunt failure, and medication overdose. That added expense contributed significantly to the size of the settlement, he says.
- Michael Bomberger, JD, Estey Bomberger, San Diego. Telephone: (800) 925-0723.