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Hydrocephalus Diagnosis at Issue in Malpractice Case


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12/15/2010
Brent Adams
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Marcus Walker was born on February 17, 2005 to the parents of Letitia and Jeffrey Whitaker, the plaintiff’s. Jeffrey was serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time of Marcus’ birth. Physicians at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida were treating Marcus until Jeffery was discharged in May of 2005. Marcus had regular baby visits from February through May 2005. When he was seen by a different pediatrician in August of 2005 the new doctor diagnosed Marcus with hydrocephalus. A CT scan was done to confirm the diagnosis and the child had an emergency operation to insert a shunt to drain fluid from his brain. The defendant filed a motion to require the child to undergo an MRI while given general anesthetic, but the motion was denied.

The plaintiff’s alleged that the defendant’s doctors were negligent in failing to diagnose the condition properly. The parent’s also claimed that the child was cross-eyed and did not reach developmental milestones, both of which should have made the doctor suspect he had hydrocephalus.

The defendant’s said that the child’s head size was large, but was still on the standard growth chart. The defendant also argued that the plaintiff’s parents did not speak up about Marcus being cross-eyed and did not take the child to a pediatrician for additional well baby visits after the child left the Air Force.

The alleged injuries were failure to diagnose hydrocephalus, resulting in cognitive and neurological deficits. The child has had surgery to place a shunt in his head, eye surgery, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and regular visits to the neurologist.

A verdict of $1,500,000 was giving. $1,000,000 of it was for a trust that was created to pay for the child’s medical treatment.



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