Jackson Memorial Liable in Death of Premature Baby

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Jackson Memorial Liable in Death of Premature Baby

The Miami-Dade Circuit Court ruled on August 2, 2007 that Jackson Memorial Hospital was liable for the death of premature infant, Ryan Rodriguez, on February 10, 2005.

Ryan’s mother, Odette Acanda, was seven months pregnant when her doctor sent her to Jackson Memorial Hospital, concerned that Acanda’s amniotic fluid levels were low. She delivered Ryan nearly two months early through induced labor on Feb. 5, 2005, and he was put in a make-shift incubator and provided oxygen. But five days after his birth, he died of an infection.

Ryan’s estate sued the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County, the hospital’s governing body, for medical negligence. Lawyers Maria and Carlos , partners at Martinez Manglardi &  Orlando, claimed the hospital’s inadequate sterilization caused the infection, and that the medical residents and nurses did not do an adequate job of catching it or treating it in time.

According to the suit, an adequate incubator wasn’t obtained for the infant for several days, and despite a fever and high white blood count, the resident physicians and nurses failed to follow doctors’ orders to test for infections. Antibiotics were not ordered until two days after the infection was identified on a lab report, just hours before Ryan died.

Lawyers for the defense, Stephen Stieglitz and Eric Gressman, Miami-Dade County attorney’s office, argued that the resident physicians and nurses named in the suit were not the decision makers for the baby’s treatment, and that the attending physicians from University of Miami medical school were actually responsible. The defense also claimed that this type of infection is difficult to treat because it moves rapidly throughout a patient’s body.

Before the suit was filed, Ryan’s estate settled for an undisclosed amount with the University of Miami medical school – but that did not prevent the jury from finding Jackson Memorial Hospital 100% responsible. The suit had asked for $4 million for pain and suffering for Ryan’s parents. Acanda received $1.2 million for past and future pain and suffering. Ryan’s father, Alexis Rodriguez, was awarded $800,000 for past and future pain and suffering.

“Hospital-acquired infections shouldn’t happen in the first place, and if they happen they should be caught and dealt with,” Plaintiff attorney said. “You shouldn’t die from a hospital-acquired infection.”

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