Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 17, 2019 – Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital will pay close to $40 million to the families of two children who suffered paralysis after undergoing heart surgeries at the St. Petersburg, Florida, pediatric facility. A third family will receive $750,000 after their child died following a heart surgery.
The family of a boy who was left a quadriplegic after sustaining brain damage in a March 2017 heart transplant will receive $26 million. The injury allegedly occurred due to a broken suture. The hospital will pay a $12.75 million settlement to the parents of a female patient who was left paralyzed after suffering a stroke and internal bleeding during heart surgery in June 2016.
“These families have gone through incredible hardship and loss through no fault of their own,” commented Robert Joyce, a Tampa medical malpractice attorney with Joyce & Reyes, who is not involved with the cases. “Children who suffer brain damage often require costly, lifelong care. When hospitals and surgeons commit medical errors, the affected patients deserve compensation for their injuries and the resulting impact.”
Tampa Bay Times launched an investigation into All Children’s Hospital in 2018. It found that many of the families that reporters approached were previously unaware of the safety issues associated with the hospital’s heart surgery program. In addition, the hospital’s complication and death rates had increased in recent years. However, surgeries continued even after nurses and other frontline employees complained to supervisors about children suffering injuries or dying.
After the Times investigation was published, the hospital was forced to commit to increased oversight to avoid losing federal funding. The CEO, three other executives and two surgeons stepped down.
Johns Hopkins promised to make sweeping changes to its policies with new checks and balances, better vetting of medical professionals and enhanced patient safety monitoring. The hospital stopped conducting heart surgeries during the restructuring process, but they have since resumed.
State records indicated the three families agreed to the settlements outside of court. Additional settlements with at least 11 other families are expected after the hospital admitted liability in the majority of those cases.
Johns Hopkins Health System President Kevin Sowers told the Times in June, “We made a mistake, and we need to make sure we help support these families and make it right.” According to the Times, the issues with the All Children’s heart surgery unit started in 2011 following Johns Hopkins’ takeover of the hospital.
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