Parents do not expect that something as simple as a treatment for their child’s cold could result in a serious injury. However, that is what happened to one Washington child. A Washington state judge has awarded $15 million to the family of an 8 year old girl, Mackenzie Briant. Briant suffered permanent brain damage after she took a nasal decongestant that was suggested by her school's doctor at Seattle Children's Hospital. Her family sued both the university and the hospital alleging carelessness.
Around four years ago Briant had a cold and a blocked nose. The doctor, Dr. Noel, recommended Afrin. However, the girl's cardiologist warned against the use of the drug because it may lead to heart problems since she had undergone a heart transplant as a child. After the drug was administered to Briant by her mother, she suffered cardiac arrest and as a result her brain was deprived of oxygen.
It is clear in medical literature that giving a heart transplant patient Afrin is not acceptable. Since she suffered cardiac arrest her brain was without oxygen for a significant period of time and, as a result, suffered serious brain injury. Due to this injury Briant cannot move with purpose, cannot communicate other than making some noises that are difficult to decipher, is fed through her stomach, and requires 24 hour care. The $15 million award money will help the family in providing better care and further treatment options for their girl.
While the hospital apologized for the girl’s brain injury they also defended the doctor’s decision to prescribe Afrin. They stated that Afrin was a commonly used over-the-counter remedy for cold and they do not believe that it led to Briant’s cardiac arrest.
If you or a loved one has a child that has suffered serious injury due to the medical negligence of a doctor providing inappropriate treatment you should contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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