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$1.175-million county settlement for Harbor-UCLA patient who alleged negligence

January 4, 2011 |  5:54 pm

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $1.175-million settlement Tuesday to a patient at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center who alleged medical negligence after a blood vessel wall was inadvertently punctured by a catheter tip.

Amber Dunn was treated at Harbor-UCLA, near Torrance, after a motor vehicle accident in late 2008, according to county documents. During a diagnostic procedure, “an unexpected complication occurred whereby one of the patient’s blood vessels was injured. Although this injury caused further complications, the patient was treated and discharged home a few days later,” according to a county case summary document.

County officials said they believed they cared for the patient properly but would be hampered in court by the Res Ipsa Loquitur doctrine. The doctrine says an entity is presumed to be negligent if it had “exclusive control of whatever caused the injury even though there is no specific evidence of an act of negligence, and without negligence the accident would not have happened,” according to the website law.com.

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration

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