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Family of Toddler Sues Hospital After Child Swallows Battery


Parent’s intuition is a very real phenomenon, so when a parent says, “I think my child needs this now,” you had better listen to them. And when parent’s intuition is backed up by poison control about what medical measures need to be taken to care for a child, they should not be questioned. However, when 19-month old Ava-Kate Parsons’ parents, Cole Parsons and Courtney Thorne, rushed their daughter to Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville after she swallowed a battery on March 10, 2016, hospital staff refused to listen to their pleas to remove the battery then and there. The hospital’s lack of urgency may have cost them.

Hospital Negligence Leads to Staggering Medical Costs

The National Capital Poison Center told Ava-Kate’s parents that in order to keep side effects to a bare minimum, the battery must be removed within two hours. When they relayed this message to Dr. David Smith, the physician downplayed the dangers of swallowing a lithium battery, relating the incident to “a coin in her throat.” The battery ended up staying in the little girl five hours post consumption—three hours longer than recommended by poison control. As a result, Ava-Kate suffered a burn in her esophagus and needed additional surgeries.

Parents Parson and Thorne ended up spending between $300,000 and $400,000 on medical expenses for necessary treatment for their daughter, which included over 20 surgeries and a trip to a Boston hospital. As a result of the time-consuming and ongoing medical procedures, Thorne had to take a leave of absence from her job, only to return part-time, to care for her baby. To help cover expenses, and to gain some sort of justice for the doctor and hospital staff’s negligence, the family sued Wolfson Children’s Hospital for medical malpractice.

As of right now, Ava-Kate can only eat pureed foods; her parents fear that she will continue to need medical treatment well into her teenaged years.

Delayed Medical Treatment Can Result in Medical Malpractice

Proving medical malpractice hinges on whether or not the appropriate course of action was taken in a timely fashion, and whether or not another medical professional would have acted in the same manner under similar circumstances. A claim also hinges on whether or not actual damages were sustained as a result of the perceived negligence. While the case is still pending, it looks as though Dr. Smith acted extremely negligently in his care of Ava-Kate, especially considering that poison control directed her parents to get Ava-Kate to the ER for immediate removal of the battery.

Unfortunately, Dr. David Smith did not deliver to Ava-Kate the timely care she needed. As a result, the little girl may suffer acute effects for the rest of her life.

Consult a Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Lawyer

At The Pendas Law Firm, our medical malpractice lawyers understand the severe and negative impact that medical negligence can have on one’s life. From extensive and ongoing surgeries to death, medical malpractice is not an injustice to be brushed aside. In order to reduce medical injuries, our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers seek justice for victims in the form of monetary compensation. This compensation is meant to help victims and their families cover medical expenses, lost wages, and future lost wages. It also serves to compensate them for loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, and disfigurement. Most importantly however, we hope that by helping more clients win their cases, we can set a precedence for medical practitioners everywhere.

Ava-Kate and her family are already fighting the good fight, but if you or a loved one has suffered from medical malpractice and need an lawyer to represent you, reach out to our Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firm at 888-LPENDAS to schedule a case evaluation today.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Tampa, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Miami, Daytona, Bradenton, and Orlando areas.


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