Michigan Verdicts

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Hospital negligence caused child’s brain damage: plaintiff

Amount:

$130,571,897

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Michigan

Venue:

Oakland County

Court:

Oakland County, Circuit Court

Injury Type(s):

brain-brain damage; brain-cerebral palsy; other-physical therapy; pulmonary/respiratory-anoxia

Case Type:

Medical Malpractice – Delayed Treatment

Case Name:

Yen Tran v. William Beaumont Hospital,
No. 2016-154238-NH

Date:

September 25, 2018

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Yen Tran , 

Vihn Tran (Male, 2 Months)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Brian J. McKeen;
McKeen & Associates, P.C.;
Detroit,
MI,
for
Yen Tran, Vihn Tran ■ Steven C. Hurbis;
McKeen & Associates, P.C.;
Detroit,
MI,
for
Yen Tran, Vihn Tran

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Donald Younkin; M.D.; Pediatric Neurology; Philadelphia,
PA called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Marvin Nelson; M.D.; Pediatric Radiology; Los Angeles,
CA called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Robert Lerer; M.D.; Pediatrics; Fairfield,
OH called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Robert Cullen; M.D.; Pediatric Neurology; Miami,
FL called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Stacey Copley; MS; Nuclear Medicine; Columbus,
OH called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Carolyn Crawford; M.D.; Neonatology; Camden,
NJ called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Darlene Carruthers; C.R.C.; Life Care Planning; Buffalo,
NY called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Michael Thomson; Ph.D.; Economics; Bloomfield Hills,
MI called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Jonathan Cronin; M.D.; Neonatology; Boston,
MA called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis ■ Patricia Moylan; Ph.D.; Neuropsychology; Northville,
MI called by:
Brian J. McKeen, Steven C. Hurbis

Defendant(s):

William Beaumont Hospital

Defense Attorney(s):

D. Jennifer Andreou;
Plunkett Cooney, P.C.;
Detroit,
MI,
for
William Beaumont Hospital ■ Eric T. Ramar;
Plunkett Cooney, P.C.;
Detroit,
MI,
for
William Beaumont Hospital

Defendant Expert(s):

Erin O’Callaghan;
Life Care Planning;
Rochester Hills,
MI called by:
D. Jennifer Andreou, Eric T. Ramar ■ Jill Buyon;
Rheumatology;
New York,
NY called by:
D. Jennifer Andreou, Eric T. Ramar ■ Paul Sicilian;
Economics;
Grand Rapids,
MI called by:
D. Jennifer Andreou, Eric T. Ramar ■ Frank McGeorge;
Emergency Medicine;
Detroit,
MI called by:
D. Jennifer Andreou, Eric T. Ramar ■ Stephen Guertin;
Pediatric Critical Care;
Lansing,
MI called by:
D. Jennifer Andreou, Eric T. Ramar ■ Elizabeth Wynn;
Nuclear Medicine;
Ann Arbor,
MI called by:
D. Jennifer Andreou, Eric T. Ramar

Facts:

On March 30, 2006, plaintiff Vihn Tran, a 2-month-old boy, was taken to Beaumont-Royal Oak Hospital, in Troy, for a renal scan. As technicians attempted to insert an intravenous line, Vihn suffered a breath-hold spell. Vihn suffered severe brain damage. Vihn’s mother, Yen Tran, on behalf of her son, sued William Beaumont Hospital for medical malpractice. Tran alleged that the nuclear radiology technologists charged with caring for her son delayed calling a code blue and failed to give chest compressions as required by the standard of care. Vihn had been born with neonatal lupus. Pursuant to that diagnosis, Vihn was undergoing various studies with respect to his heart and kidneys, the two organs primarily affected by lupus. Vihn’s pediatrician had ordered a thallium renal scan of the infant’s kidneys to work up a diagnosis of bilateral hydronephrosis. Tran alleged that Vihn was in the hospital at 10:10 a.m. when the IV was placed into the child and the breath-holding spell began. She argued that the hospital staff failed to recognize the seriousness of the breath-holding episode, thus delaying the code blue call. Tran alleged the technologists did not notice the child was struggling for 13 minutes until his mother pointed out that he was turning blue. She maintained that the technologists took some action at that point but not enough. Tran argued that several more minutes elapsed before a code team arrived. Tran’s medical experts opined that there was an overall delay of 13 minutes in calling a code and a delay of at least four minutes in starting chest compressions. Tran’s medical experts opined that the delay led to Vihn, who was perfectly normal prior to the renal scan, to suffer a severe anoxic brain injury and resultant cerebral palsy. A nuclear medicine technologist testified as an expert for Tran. This expert opined that the defendants delayed in calling a code because they did not appreciate that Vihn was struggling to breathe and then eventually stopped breathing. The expert further testified that the defendants failed to check for a pulse and start CPR while waiting for the code team to arrive. The defense did not dispute that Vihn had a breath-holding spell, but contended that the breath-holding spell was not due to any negligence on the part of the nuclear medicine technologists at the hospital. The defense’s medical experts opined that the nuclear technologists responded rapidly and that there was nothing that could be done because, due to his underlying neonatal lupus condition, Vihn was anemic before the renal scan was performed. They opined that the medical team responded appropriately and that the outcome was simply unfortunate because Vihn was fragile.

Injury:

Vihn allegedly suffered approximately 13 minutes without breathing. His mother alleged that the deprivation of oxygen and blood to Vihn’s brain caused massive brain damage and resulting cerebral palsy. Vihn will need lifelong 24/7 attendant care and physical therapy. He is unable to feed himself, dress himself or bathe himself. He is also unable to walk and will most likely be wheelchair bound in the foreseeable future. He’s not expected to be able to work. It was estimated that Vihn will need occupational therapy twice per year up until the age of 26 and then every two to three years for the rest of his life. Also, he is expected to need speech therapy until the age of 26, neurological evaluations once per year for life, orthopedic evaluations once a year for life and care with a physiatrist two to three times per year for life. Vihn also requires one to four Botox injections every three to six months from now until the age of 21 and then one to four injections every six months for the rest of his life. He requires a specially-equipped home for his needs, including a ramp to enter/exit the home, installation of a therapy swim pool in the home, use of a pediatric power wheelchair until the age of 16 and an adult wheelchair after that for the rest of his life. Additionally, he needs a modified van, which will need to be replaced every seven to 10 years for life. Tran sought damages for past and future medicals; past and future pain and suffering; and past and future loss of earning capacity.

Result:

The jury found that William Beaumont Hospital, through its employees, was negligent, that Vihn sustained an injury, and that the negligence of William Beaumont Hospital through its employees was a proximate cause of Vihn’s injury. The jury determined that damages totaled $130,571,897. It was expected that the verdict would be reduced to approximately $49 million, which would include a reduction of future economic damages to present cash value.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Phyllis McMillen

Trial Length:

20
 days

Trial Deliberations:

6
 hours

Post Trial:

The verdict is expected to be reduced due to a statutory cap, and it is anticipated that the defense will appeal the verdict.

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ and defense counsel.