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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Failure to Diagnose Hydrocephalus Leads to $4.3 Million Settlement

March 12, 2018 in ,

A $4.3 million settlement was secured prior to trial on behalf of a child because of her pediatricians’ failure to diagnose a condition of hydrocephalus. This law firm was hired by the father of a young girl that went undiagnosed for almost five years for this serious medical condition.  Hydrocephalus is a buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain.  If it persists and goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause chronic pressure on the brain and result in brain damage.  For a young child in the early years of life, this condition will impact the development and growth of the brain.

In this case, this young child showed signs of this extraordinarily concerning condition as young as nine months of age when her head size rapidly grew while the rest of her body did not grow accordingly.  During her care under her first pediatrician, her father’s concerns regarding his daughter’s head were even more worrisome when she also started to exhibit signs of developmental delays in speech, gross motor, and fine motor activities.  Despite these obvious signs, no action was taken by her pediatrician.

Her head size not only was measured at greater than the 97th percentile by 18 months of age, but her head also looked misshaped.  This pediatrician failed to refer this little girl to a neurologist or even for head and brain imaging.

When her father was not satisfied with the lack of concern by this pediatrician, he changed doctors to receive a second opinion concerning his daughter’s development and the condition of her head. Her next pediatrician erroneously assumed that the child’s first doctor had referred her for these conditions and thus also failed to refer the child for a neurological consultation or for any tests to investigate her developmental delays and head size and shape.

It was not until the child was 5 years old that her father self-referred his daughter to an endocrinologist because he was so concerned about her small stature and large head size.  An initial investigation by this specialist lead to a Brain MRI test which identified a large collection of cerebrospinal fluid trapped within the brain.  The diagnosis of hydrocephalus was made immediately.  Her condition was so severe and extensive that it caused a malformation of the brain where part of it was growing into the spine called a Chiari malformation.

This 5-year-old girl underwent immediate surgery to relieve the pressure and allow her brain to grow and develop as it should.  Once the hydrocephalus was treated, the child’s brain malformation resolved and she made significant improvement and strides in her development and gross motor and fine motor activities.

Experts retained in the fields of pediatrics and pediatric neurology reviewed the medical records and opined that the child’s pediatricians were negligent and committed medical malpractice in failing to refer her for a neurological consultation and brain imaging.  In addition, the experts opined that the prolonged delay in diagnosis resulted in developmental delays and brain damage from the pressure that was exerted for so long.

This case was litigated and made ready for trial.  Just prior to the trial, we successfully settled the case for a sum totaling $4.3 million to compensate this child and her father for her injuries.

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