Carillon Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia settled a medical malpractice claim with parents of a young child who suffered a brain injury during surgery. The child, Michelle Zhang, was hospitalized at Carillon Roanoke Memorial Hospital in September 2012 for pneumonia and other respiratory conditions. Michelle was just 21 months old at the time. A lawsuit filed on her behalf alleged that the anesthesiologist should have terminated the single lung ventilation procedure when the toddler’s oxygen levels began to rapidly drop. This lead to a cardiac arrest that in turn caused brain injury.
Because the injured party was a minor, a Montgomery County judge had to approve the deal in an infant settlement hearing. The settlement amount comes fairly close to Virginia’s medical malpractice damages cap, which would have been $2.05 million in this instance.
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As a Norfolk medical malpractice attorney, I have to say that this lawyer did a superb job for his client. At the same time, this infant settlement matter underscores the unjust character of Virginia’s medical malpractice damages cap. While $1.8 million is a large sum, it falls short of fully compensating the child and her family. Future medical bills and care could easily exceed the settlement amount. Furthermore, the loss of income and diminishment of earning capacity would almost certainly exceed the settlement amount, perhaps many times over.
The Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer Blog will write further posts on Virginia’s medical malpractice damages cap in the coming weeks. I invite your comments on this important issue.