$5 Million Dollar Settlement (Present Value) - Failure to Treat Shunt Malfunction
A child was born prematurely and as a result, had placement of a shunt for prevention of build-up of intracranial pressure. When the child was approximately one year old, the mother took the child to a pediatric neurosurgeon because she suspected shunt malfunction/obstruction as result of the child's lethargic condition and vomiting. In the past, a physician performed a shunt revision, a brief procedure, to restore the draining ability of the shunt. The child was admitted for CT scan to determine whether the shunt was malfunctioning.
Despite the fact that the CT scan confirmed increased intracranial pressure as a result of the shunt malfunction, no physician performed a shunt revision. Nurses, despite a significant drop in the child's vital signs, failed to summon a physician. Approximately 10 hours after the CT scan was performed, as a result of the uncontrolled build-up of intracranial pressure, the child suffered a brain herniation and posterior cerebral infarct. This child was rendered quadriplegic, is blind, has severe cognitive and communication disorders and has suffered other permanent life-altering problems. In addition, this child will always have to be fed by use of a gastrostomy tube (g-tube) and will never be able to eat solid foods or drink liquids by mouth. Resolved by settlement in 2005.