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$10M awarded by jury for doctors' failure to diagnose infant

When children are sick, most Oregon parents take them to see doctors. The hope is that the doctor will be able to make a swift and accurate diagnosis so that the appropriate treatment can begin and make the child better. However, a failure to diagnose the child correctly could lead to permanent or deadly injuries from either the illness or the wrong treatment.

For one family, it was the illness that caused the damage to their then 3-month-old boy. In 2011, the boy exhibited symptoms that caused his parents to take him to the emergency room. On the second visit, the boy was admitted to the hospital, but he was not tested for a bacterial infection and received no antibiotics.

Upon his release from the hospital, his symptoms continued. A visit to his normal doctor resulted in a diagnosis of bacterial meningitis. He was then taken by helicopter to a children's hospital in Alabama.

He required multiple surgeries and treatments to cure him. Sadly, it was too late to prevent hearing loss, seizures and brain damage. It was then that the boy's father filed a lawsuit against the parties believed to be responsible. The family was awarded $10 million by the jury.

The jury agreed that the failure to diagnose the then-infant's condition in a timely manner led to his permanent injuries. This family's plight could be the worst nightmare for many parents in Oregon. Should any of them find themselves facing a similar situation, they retain the right to file a civil action seeking restitution for the damages they have -- and will -- incur because of a medical mistake.

Source: al.com, "Tot's missed meningitis brings $10 million verdict against Walker Baptist Medical Center", Kent Faulk, Feb. 12, 2016

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