Jury Awards Detroit Area Family $130.5 Million in Beaumont Case
A Detroit area family is set to receive what’s believed to be one of the largest medical malpractice settlements in the state’s history following a three-week long civil trial held in Oakland County Circuit Court. A jury has awarded the Tran family $130,571,897 in a case brought against Beaumont Hospital after finding that two medical technicians failed to follow proper protocol and “caused severe and permanent brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy.”
In 2006, Vihn Tran, then only two months old, suffered a breath-holding spell as the medical team at Beaumont’s facility in the Royal Oak area attempted to start an IV in the infant. A lawsuit was subsequently filed a decade later, in 2016, on behalf of Yen Tran and her son. The family alleged that the technicians failed to immediately call a cold blue and did not administer chest compressions, as is the standard of care. Vihn ‘suffered a severe and prolonged hypoxic-ischemic insult resulting in massive brain damage’ and cerebral palsy.
“Nothing will ease the suffering of this child, but at least this settlement will alleviate some of the financial burden from his caretakers,” Brian McKeen, managing partner of McKeen & Associates, said. “I’m grateful for the jurors’ service and gratified they agreed that this was a preventable tragedy.”
McKeen added the now 12-year-old is a “charming and beautiful boy” but requires help with his daily care, including bathing and other medical needs. The boy’s mother works full-time caring for him.
According to the filing, Vihn was born prematurely. However, he was healthy and was discharged after a two-day hospital stay. Court records indicate that prenatally he developed a urologic condition referred to as hydronephrosis, a mild swelling of the kidneys. Then, when he was two weeks old, he underwent an ultrasound and he was set to undergo a renal scan. During that time, the infant was also diagnosed with lupus, but a physical examination and ECG showed no evidence of his heart being affected.
In March 2006, the boy went to the Royal Oak area hospital for the renal scan, which required an IV line. Medical personnel struggled with establishing the IV and once it was in place, the boy’s condition “changed dramatically,” the lawsuit stated. His mother noticed him turning blue, yet the staff neglected to check for a pulse and provide chest compressions. As a result, the Vihn’s brain was depleted of oxygen and blood and he developed cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects movement, motor skills, and muscle tone with symptoms including exaggerated reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs, and involuntary motions. Long-term treatment of the condition typically requires physical therapy and surgery.
Beaumont plans to appeal the jury’s decision as evidenced by the following statement made by spokesperson Mark Geary: “We are committed to providing extraordinary care, every day. We took this case before a jury because we believe the care we delivered was appropriate. Even though the dollar amount of the verdict will be substantially reduced due to applicable law, we stand by the care we provided and are appealing.”