Infant Child Sleeping In Hospital
23 May 2018

Pennsylvania Mother Wins $4M After Infant Daughter’s Malpractice Death

A Pennsylvania mother has won $4 million in compensation from Lancaster Pediatric Associates, securing damages in the case of her 32-day-old daughter’s wrongful death. The plaintiff’s daughter, born eight years ago, died after only four weeks of life. The mother says her daughter’s death can be directly attributed to pertussis, or whooping cough, a common childhood illness she says went undiagnosed.

Pennsylvania Woman Secures $4M In Malpractice Trial

A jury for the Lancaster County Court, a State Court in Pennsylvania, agreed with the plaintiff’s assessment, finding that pediatricians at Lancaster Pediatric Associates were liable for the infant’s tragic death.

Newborn Baby In Hospital

At trial, the mother testified that, in the days following her daughter’s birth, she’d returned to the medical practice multiple times and pressed the doctors to test her newborn for whooping cough; the mother herself was at the time suffering from symptoms (similar to the flu or common cold) characteristic of the sickness.

Whooping Cough Led To Infant’s Death

Despite her insistence, the doctors at Lancaster Pediatric failed to test the child for pertussis, the Pennsylvania jury concluded. Whooping cough is generally tested through a simple nose or throat swab.

In an interview with Lancaster Online, the mother urged parents everywhere “to get their kids vaccinated,” noting that her own daughter was too young “to be afforded that opportunity.” The DTaP vaccine, which covers diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, is generally administered to young children in five courses over the course of their first four to six years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Lancaster Pediatric Associates Failed To Diagnose Pertussis, Jury Finds

In their findings, the Lancaster County jury concluded that Lancaster Pediatric Associates, along with two doctors, Dr. Jason Gottlieb and Dr. Steven Killough, were liable for missing the opportunity to test the child during two office visits when the infant displayed common symptoms of whooping cough.

A nurse practitioner, Betsey Neumann, who was also named as a defendant in the case, reached an undisclosed settlement agreement with the mother before trial, Lancaster Online writes.

Mother Hopes Verdict Will Inspire Other Families

After the $4 million verdict was announced, the mother, Michelle Goldstein, who chose to use her name publicly, said, “I truly hope that anyone else that is in a situation where they believe their doctors or another professional failed to adhere to the proper standard of care, that this will give them hop that your voice can be heard.”

Defense attorneys for the medical practice say they plan to appeal the jury’s verdict.

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