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

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

 
Comments () | Archives (4)

If you had a robot do this procedure exactly the same every single time, there would still be a small % of vessels that break I'm guessing...not because of negligence, but because of the patients' own anatomies.

It certainly could be negligence in this case, but just because a vessel was punctured doesn't necessarily make it so. To me the upsetting bit of the story is that whether it was or wasn't negligence, just filing a lawsuit was enough to get the county to deliver a $1 million payout from our taxes.

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this judgement does not make any sense to me. There has to be more to this story. does anyone care to explain this? how can any doctor or nurse practice medicine anymore? this is ridiculous and the woman who filed the lawsuit, along with her lawyers, should be ashamed of themselves. Also, they should be banned from being able to use a hospital.

There is a lot that this story is not telling people and is doing a great disservice to the injured party here. This entire story is based on a paragraph of information submitted to the County Board of Supervisors & not all the facts. First, this was either a child who was injured or someone who suffered such permanent brain injury that she needs a guardian ad litem as shown in the court papers. Second, she apparently suffered a "code blue" due to the negligence and has thus suffered permanent brain injur+y she will now have to deal with the rest of her life. Finally, there is a $250,000 cap on general damages for pain & suffering due to medical malpractice - so the amount at issue is almost entirely related to provable medical costs this child will have to live with for the rest of her life. It is stories like this that make people believe frivolous lawsuits are profitable. The reality is that the number of lawsuits that get filed have fallen dramatically, the amount of judgments/settlements have fallen dramatically and frvilous lawsuits get tossed out early and often.


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