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Doctors who wrongly declared 8-year-old dead are sued

A hospital in one of the nation's largest cities faces a lawsuit from the parents of an 8-year old, with severe brain damage. The boy's parents allege that doctors made grave hospital errors and diagnostic mistakes in declaring the child dead, keeping him from his ventilator, although family members insisted that the child's eyes and body still moved. Although this tragic incident did not occur at a Pennsylvania hospital, people should be aware that any medical center can be the site of medical errors. The lawsuit alleges that the youngster was off his ventilator for almost five hours, until hospital staff performed a cardiac ultrasound, which revealed that the boy's heart was still beating.

A hospital spokesperson refutes the allegations, stating that the 8-year-old was in full cardiac arrest for 25 minutes while doctors treated him for "an extended period of time," prior to pronouncing the child's death. The hospital further stated that, after "extensive resuscitative efforts," the child did not regain a pulse. The medical center contends that, although there was no heart activity for several hours, young patients receiving medication can sometimes experience a spontaneous return of heart function.

The child has suffered from severe brain damage since he was two. Since then, he's been bedridden and on a ventilator. His mother found him unresponsive on the day in question, speeding the boy to the hospital for resuscitative treatment. The parent's lawyers stated that, since a lawsuit has been filed, they would release no further details of the child's medical condition before or after the tragic incident.

However, the boy's parents noted that the child's eyes continued to "flick open," after the medical declaration of the child's death. The parents and other family members at the hospital demanded that the staff conduct more tests, which revealed that the child's heart was still beating.

What is you view of this tragic incident? Is it just an understandable mistake or evidence of hospital negligence?

Source: KOAM TV, "Suit: Doctors mistakenly declared Chicago boy dead," Oct. 20, 2012

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