$3.5 Million Settlement for Infant Who Suffered Brain Damage at Children's Memorial Hospital
The Children's Memorial Hospital and the law firm of Corboy & Demetrio yesterday agreed to a $3.5 million settlement in the case of a young girl who suffered severe brain injuries during surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. Under the terms of the agreement the girl, now 8 years old, will receive the entire settlement from the hospital.
In October, 1999, the firm settled the case of a young boy who also suffered injuries to his brain after doctors at Children's performed surgery to correct the shape of his head. That case settled for $5.5 million.
The most recent case began when Kailah Garrett, then 6 months old, entered Children's Memorial Hospital on October 29, 1992 to correct an irregular heartbeat. The doctors, Barbara Deal and Elfriede Pahl, decided to perform a cardiac biopsy - a risky procedure under the circumstances - to determine the cause of the irregular heartbeat. While attempting a cardiac catheterization as part of the biopsy, they punctured the wall of Kailah's heart, causing cardiac arrest. The doctors performed open heart surgery, but Kailah suffered from a severe lack of oxygen to her brain. After surgery Kailah remained unconscious and unresponsive for almost three days.
The infant was kept in the hospital for 10 days following surgery and she now suffers from a range of injuries, including cerebral palsy. These injuries make it impossible for Kailah to live a normal life. Immediately after the surgery, Kailah was unable to feed from a spoon, crawl, sit or attempt to talk. Though those problems have now been corrected and she can now talk and walk, she cannot go any distances without tiring. She has great difficulty learning new concepts and was held back after the first grade. Her vision, speech and motor skills are all below average.
"The doctors acted too aggressively in this case," the firm said. "The biopsy carried a significant risk of damaging Kailah's heart and there was no medical need to perform the procedure. The size of the settlement reflects the seriousness of her injuries."
Keith and Martha Garrett, as Parents and Next Friends of Kailah Garrett, a minor; and Keith Garrett and Martha Garrett, Individually v. The Children's Memorial Hospital, a corporation and Barbara Deal and Elfriede Pahl. Case Number: 94 L 16670C
Brian Levin & Pamela Gellen