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$45M Medical Malpractice Award in Case of Misdiagnosis of Abused Infant

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There was a medical malpractice case in which it was alleged that two physicians neglected to diagnose a broken leg in a two-month old child who was abused. In February 2017, a jury in Gloucester County rendered an award of $45 million. The jury determined that the physicians failed to comply with the accepted standard of care, and that Inspira Medical Center at Vineland had an apparent agency relationship with both physicians. The jury allowed the plaintiff to collect part of the verdict from it.

The lawsuit alleged that the doctors sent the infant home with his parents because they failed to correctly diagnose a fracture of his femur bone. Because of such negligence, the infant suffered more abuse perpetrated by his father some weeks afterwards.

The father, John Burgos, was held to be 60 percent liable. He was a third-party defendant, but was found to be in default. The remaining damages were allocated between the two doctors, with 35 percent attributed to Ilmia Choudhary and five percent to Dominic Diorio.

The child’s mother, Sabrina Bonilla, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the child, Ethan Burgos-Bonilla, who is currently age 12, and has severe cognitive deficits. She took the child to the hospital on November 27, 2005, when it was called South Jersey Regional Medical Center. She informed Dr. Diorio, an emergency room physician, that the infant was unable to straighten his leg, and that he cried whenever contact was made with the leg.

Dr. Diorio ordered that x-rays be performed on the leg, and determined that it was not fractured. He based his conclusion on a report from a radiologist who read the x-rays from his home computer. However, plaintiff’s attorney contended that the hospital’s procedure for remote viewing offers deficient resolution.

The following morning, the hospital’s radiologist viewed the X-ray, decided that it revealed a potential fracture, and said that more tests were necessary. The radiologist sent his report to Dr. Choudhary, who had a duty to communicate with the infant’s parents, and make arrangements for more tests. However, she did not contact them. In her defense, she said she was never in receipt of the report.

 

If you or a loved one was the victim of negligence on the part of a doctor or hospital, call the medical malpractice attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizo, Pappa & Casazza.

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