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Teen Who Lost Limbs Due to Expired Vaccine Wins Med Mal Suit

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Jan. 13, the jury in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the University of Miami’s medical school found in favor of a teenager who had to have all four of her limbs amputated after she was given expired medicine in 1998. The jury awarded the girl $12.6 million, though the actual award will go down due to the way it distributed responsibility in the case.

The girl had to have several organs removed when she was an infant due to health problems. Among the organs removed was her spleen, which normally acts to filter out bacteria and viruses from the body.

In October 1998, the girl’s mother took her to the UM’s Miller School of Medicine for a checkup. A medical assistant who examined the girl gave her an injection of a vaccination that was meant to protect the girl from infection.

Eight months later, the girl was rushed to another hospital with a bacterial infection coursing through her body. The infection caused blood clots to form that led to gangrene in her limbs. The damage was so severe that doctors had to amputate all four limbs above the joints.

It was later determined that the vaccine the UM medical assistant had used had been five months expired. Ironically, the vaccine had caused the same illness it was supposed to prevent, according to the girl’s attorney.

The girl and her mother filed a medical malpractice suit against the medical school and the physician who treated her. After a five-week trial, the jury found that the school was 55 percent liable for the girl’s injuries. They also found that the mother was 40 percent liable and the doctor was 5 percent responsible.

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “Miramar teen who lost limbs wins malpractice suit,” Robert Nolin, Jan. 13, 2012

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