Infection Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Results in $6M Verdict for Death of Baby

A St. Louis jury has awarded $6 million to the parents of a 6 month old baby who died after a Missouri hospital failed to diagnose a bacterial infection, delaying treatment.

DeWayen and Suzanne Blankenship filed the medical malpractice lawsuit against Saint Louis University, which provided medical services through SSM Glennon Children’s Medical Center, and several other defendants for the wrongful death of their son in 2002. All of the defendants except St. Louis University were dismissed from the case before trial.

The Blankenships took their son, Dylan, to Cardinal Glennon on June 26, 2002 after finding him to be feverish, lethargic and having trouble breathing. The hospital discharged him later the same day, failing to diagnose a bacterial infection. The baby was taken back to the hospital by ambulance the next day when his condition worsened, and he died six days later after treatments were unsuccessful.

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The Missouri malpractice lawsuit alleged that the hospital’s infection misdiagnosis prevented the baby from receiving proper treatment the first time they took him in.

Following a one week trial, Saint Louis University was found medically negligent for the misdiagnosed blood infection on August 17, and the parents were awarded $6,080,000, according to a statement released by the family’s medical malpractice lawyer. The lawsuit was filed on July 1, 2005, before a new Missouri damages cap of $350,000 on non-economic damages went into place, meaning that it will not be affected by the Missouri damages cap.

Infectious bacteria can create toxins that damage nearby cells. Untreated, bacterial infections can spread throughout the body through the bloodstream, a condition called bactermia. There are a large variety of types of bacteria which can cause bacterial infections and a wide range of symptoms, from salmonella food poisoning to common sinus infections.

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, but it is important that the diagnosis and treatment come as early as possible. Left unchecked, many can be fatal. But even if the infection is not fatal, delayed treatment can lead to permanent damage and injury.

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