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Boston mother receives $11M after infant death

In an earlier post we mentioned that Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was found to have one of the worst readmission rates in the country. Beth Israel had among the highest national readmission rates for patients experiencing heart attack, pneumonia, or heart failure. Readmission can mean that patients are more likely to encounter problems such as infection and medical malpractice. Patients say that the hospital has other issues, including inadequate care for premature infants.

A family who sought treatment for their premature daughter was awarded $11 million this week after a court found that a doctor and nurse from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center contributed to the death of their daughter. The family's eight-day-old daughter died of a bowel infection called necrotizing enterocolitis. The parents say that the nurse and doctor failed to properly diagnose their child's symptoms or promptly address the infant's deteriorating health.

"For me, it's not about the money. It's about accountability, responsibility and change," said the mother, who is also a nurse. "It's a huge relief for us that she didn't die for nothing. At least now, she can save other babies' lives by making doctors pay more attention and focus on potential problems."

The mother said that the doctors and nurses were grossly negligent in their care of their daughter. The mother found the infant unresponsive in the hospital room with her alarm silenced and no nurse with the premature baby. The mother knew instantly that there was something horribly wrong and that the staff overlooked a lot of issues.

"Her death was premature and preventable, and that's exactly what was read by the jury," the mother said. "To save other babies I had to sacrifice mine."

Source: Salem News, "Parents awarded $11M after death of infant daughter," Bethany Bray, Sept. 2, 2011

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