Two-Year-Old Loses Intestines Because ER Delays Transfer For Obstruction; $6.1 Million Settlement

A two-year-old boy is taken by his mother to a North Carolina hospital emergency room because his belly is firm and distended, he has not been able to take food for three days, and he has been vomiting uncontrollably. An abdominal x-ray revealed a bowel obstruction, but no radiologist is available, and the ER doctor misreads it. Bowel obstructions cannot be treated at this hospital, and the boy remains in the emergency room for nearly six hours before being sent to a major hospital.

By the time the little boy has surgery at the major medical center, almost all of his small intestines had died, and he is left with "short bowel syndrome." As a result, he depends on tube feedings, resulting in astronomical medical costs and dramatic delays in his physical development.

The corporation that managed the emergency room went into bankruptcy, but Martin & Jones was able to track down available insurance policies. Eventually, the emergency room doctor, hospital and corporation that provided the ER doctor settled the case for a combined $6.1 million, which was set in a trust for the little boy to provide him with care for the rest of his life.

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