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Family of girl declared brain dead files lawsuit

New Mexico residents may have heard of a case in which a girl was declared brain dead by her doctors, but her family does not wish to have her removed from life support. The California family has filed a medical malpractice suit stemming from surgery she had in December of 2013 for sleep apnea. The lawsuit is for negligent infliction of personal distress, personal injuries and wrongful death depending upon whether the girl died in December 2013.

The family says the doctor opted for invasive surgery to treat the girl and ignored a reasonable standard of care. Furthermore, the doctor allegedly did not tell the staff that the girl's malformed carotid artery meant a risk of bleeding to death. When she began coughing up blood after the surgery, the mother had to ask that a doctor be called, and by then, her family says she had lost at least three pints of blood.

Furthermore, the family says the doctor only came after the girl's grandmother demanded that he be called, and by then, her heart had stopped. The team failed to perform a potentially life-saving emergency tracheotomy despite trying to revive her for more than two hours.

In a case like this, if the allegations can be supported, the court may find that medical negligence was a factor. The claim would be that the actions that were taken were below the standard of care expected in a medical facility, and the complications that ensued may have been within the ability of the medical professionals to prevent. Individuals who find themselves or their loved ones in a similar situation may want to discuss their options with an attorney.

Source: ABC News, "Family of California team declared brain dead sues hospital for malpractice," Sydney Lupkin, March 3, 2015

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