January 4, 2012
A two year old child suffered central nervous system injury (brain abscess) when he fell while on a hike with his parents. He fell upon a tree stump which punctured his maxillary sinus. This caused the development of a cerebral infection which went undetected.
The child was worked up on admission for possible viral meningitis, bacterial meningitis, and the potential for a central nervous system abscess. The patient was placed on IV antibiotics and steroids, which resulted in an overall appearance of improvement. This combined with a negative spinal tap prompted the attending physicians to conclude that he had viral meningitis. Since he seemed "improved" he was sent home without a CAT scan of his head which would have revealed a central nervous system abscess.
Within twenty-four hours of being sent home the child suffered catastrophic injury, secondary to the intra-cranial pressure created by the abscess. He suffered permanent neurologic deficit.
The jury verdict was $63 million dollars for the future loss value with a present value award being $11 million dollars.