Pediatric Malpractice: Real-Life Testimony

Mary Ellen Mannix lost her baby son James to an unexplained event in a hospital intensive care unit. It took persistent digging by her lawyer to work through the cover story of the providers who cared for James. Here is an excerpt from Mary Ellen’s book, “Split the Baby: One Child’s Journey through Medicine and Law.”

The testimony of James’s bedside nurse is highlighted in this sample, introduced by Mary Ellen:

From the moment I was told my baby “had a serious and sudden event”, I had one question “What happened?”

I asked everyone while I was at the hospital and after we left. We never got an answer. Until I “tripped” upon a lawyer who wanted to help. The following post highlights the deposition of James’s bedside nurse about the night of October 4, 2001. It was traumatic to have to learn via litigation. When a patient or family member asks a question(s), it is because they do indeed want an honest answer. Not a lawsuit. Medical malpractice litigation is however the only route though which some injured patients and families may have to get answers. As a result, this is all public information that if shared purposefully can help stop this from happening to another newborn, young child, mother, physicians, nurse, Heart family.

The pediatric cardiac intensive care unite nurse began with her first entry into James’s flowchart: “At 19:30 the baby awoke, heart rate decreased, requiring hand ventilation to bring the heart rate back up with a mask, and medications were given to achieve that goal.”

She was ready. Her bedside manner and sense of empathy for a patient had been checked at the door. James’s lawyer,Jim Beasley, Jr., who also held his medical degree, slowed her down to go left from right, point to point.

“My initial heart rate was 138 and it had changed by the time I finished writing to 107. I have an arrow indicating that it was beginning to decrease,” the nurse testified.

Read more at Mary Ellen Mannix’s blog site here.

One question I asked myself while reading: How could such a traumatic event have left this nurse with absolutely no recall of what had happened? Is amnesia one defense to unacceptable mistakes?

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
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