North Carolina parents only want the best for their children, which is why they trust doctors to provide care that will improve their child's quality of life. This is likely what motivated the parents of a 22-month-old boy who passed away after a relatively simple outpatient dental procedure went horribly wrong.
Recently, the medical malpractice trial related to this case began in civil court. According to the boy's parents, the attending anesthesiologist made the decision to administer two doses of morphine when the boy regained consciousness after the procedure. Instead of the heavy narcotic painkiller, the doctor should have used Advil to relieve the toddler's pain.
Hours after leaving the medical center, the child was found unresponsive and not breathing. Though emergency responders were able to get the boy's heart beating, he was deemed brain dead. Within 24 hours, the parents made the terribly difficult decision to take their little boy off life support.
In response to the legal claims, the doctor is claiming that he didn't specifically order the morphine; rather, the nurse on duty prescribed the deadly dose of medication. However, records show that the anesthesiologist approved the second dose of painkiller while tending to another patient. Instead of actually checking on the boy, he just assumed the boy was crying because he was in pain, so he thought that another round of morphine -- delivered before the initial dose could take hold -- would be appropriate.
Due to the doctor's apparent negligence, the boy's parents will be unable to partake in many years of happy events. They will not be able to take the boy to his first day of kindergarten, nor will they see him through his college graduation. As such, their legal claim seeks recovery for the emotional and financial damages incurred as a result of the accident. Though no amount of monetary compensation can undo what happened, seeking justice for their son may be necessary to move forward with the grieving process.
- San Antonio Express, "Civil trial begins for doc accused in child death," Craig Kapitan, Sept. 20, 2012
- Our firm has experience handling cases of doctor error, such as the one detailed in this post. For more information about your rights after a medical accident, please check out our Raleigh medical malpractice page.