Los Angeles County Settles $7.5M Medical Malpractice Suit

November 7, 2013

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $7.5 million payment to a toddler who was born with a brain injury at a county-run hospital to settle a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the 18-month-old boy alleged that his mother suffered a ruptured uterus that deprived oxygen to her baby’s brain during delivery.

An attorney for the child said the injury was preventable because his mother went to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center complaining of severe abdominal pain, but was discharged by a medical resident. The mother, who was 39 weeks pregnant and staying at a downtown homeless shelter with two other young children, returned to the hospital 12 hours later and underwent an emergency C-section.

The lawsuit asserted that during the 14 hours spent at the hospital’s labor and delivery unit, the mother was not seen by any of the three attending obstetricians.

“They wanted to get rid of her and didn’t think she was in significant pain,” plaintiff’s attorney Bruce Fagel said.

Fagel said as a result of the settlement, the case will be reported to the state Medical Board for investigation.

He said the settlement, which also includes more than $300,000 in payment for the baby’s medical care costs, will allow his mother to buy a house and move him out of a 24-hour care facility.

“She can bring him home and change her life and that of the child,” Fagel said.

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