A Detroit family has just been awarded a record-setting judgment on behalf of their son, who suffered grievous injuries due to delayed treatment in a Detroit hospital. The $130 million dollar award determined by the jury in the Oakland County Circuit Court is being lauded as one of the largest in Michigan’s history.
The award stems from a 2006 hospital stay experienced by then-two-month-old Vihn Tran. While hospitalized in William Beaumont Hospital, located in Detroit suburb Royal Oak, Tran needed to have an IV placed. The infant, as can be common during excessive crying sessions or traumatic events, experienced a breathing-hold spell. The hospital failed in its duty to offer appropriate medical care when technicians failed to recognize this spell in appropriate timing, did not call a code blue after the infant had held his breath too long and did not begin necessary chest compressions according to standard-of-care requirements.
When breathing is interrupted for long intervals, oxygen deprivation occurs in the brain. Due to Vihn Tran’s oxygen deprivation, massive brain damage occurred and the child now suffers from cerebral palsy. Now a pre-teen, Tran requires round-the-clock care for his condition. The amount awarded will go to pay for the enormous ongoing cost of that care, which is expected to be necessary throughout his entire life.
Indiana law firm Langer and Langer explain the overwhelming impact of medical malpractice succinctly: “people who are victims of negligence are affected physically, mentally, financially and emotionally.” Though the results of the three-week trial that led to this large award to the Tran family will not reverse the child’s medical condition, it can at least go a long way toward addressing the collective suffering of the family, who have already persevered through more than a decade of difficult care and pursuing justice against Beaumont Hospital.
For the hospital’s part, they claimed throughout the entire case proceedings that an appropriate standard of care was continuously observed and affirmed their commitment to providing extraordinary care to every patient. In medical malpractice cases, however, healthcare practitioners’ aims to deliver quality care is the not question at stake. Rather, cases are determined by whether avoidable mistakes have been made or appropriate actions have been delayed.
The hospital is expected to appeal the award, which will already be reduced by Indiana law to a far lower amount that is currently the cap for medical malpractice suits.