Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Wrongful death due to failure to timely diagnose and treat staph aureus infection
Court: Fairfax County Circuit Court
Tried before: Jury
Date resolved: 12/12/2022
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $0 (defense)
Attorneys for defendant (and city): Michael E. Olszewski, Coreen A. Silverman and Kambria T. Lannetti, Fairfax
Description of case: On May 31, 2018, the decedent was born at 26 weeks gestation. He was born with a host of medical issues due to his prematurity, including a patent ductus arteriosus, anemia of prematurity and respiratory distress syndrome. On June 25, 2018, the decedent had an abnormal lab value which did not trigger the neonatologists to conduct additional testing to determine whether the decedent had an infection.
On June 29, 2018, the decedent developed an IV infiltrate which was evaluated by the neonatologistsand both determined that it was not infected. In the early morning hours of July 1, 2018, the decedent exhibited a material decline in condition mandating a blood transfusion, intubation/ventilation and IV antibiotics. Despite these interventions, the decedent died hours later. An autopsy determined that the baby had hospital-acquired staph aureus.
The decedent’s father brought this suit in June of 2020, alleging that the defendants failed to timely diagnose and treat the decedent’s staph aureus infection. The suit accused two neonatologists of malpractice.
At trial, plaintiff’s expert witnesses opined that the decedent had signs of infection at least six days before his death which the neonatologists allegedly ignored. Plaintiff’s experts pointed to a ‘left shift’ on a CBC. Defense experts opined that the decedent was not infected after the earlier CBC, and developed a fulminant infection that manifested only hours before his death. By the time the infection was clinically seen, it was too late to save the decedent’s life.
After five days of evidence, the jury deliberated for one hour and fifty minutes and returned a unanimous defense verdict.
Kambria Lannetti, counsel for the defendants, provided case information.