The Duluth News Tribune reports that a St. Louis County jury in Minnesota has awarded a $1.25 million verdict to the family of a 21-month-old boy who died in January 2008 after his doctor failed to diagnose appendicitis.
The attorney for the family argued that Dr. Kevin G. Krause was seeing too many patients and was not spending enough time on the diagnosis of each patient. The attorney convinced the jury that Dr. Krause was negligent in treating 21-month-old Andrew Morrow and directly responsible for the boy’s death.
Morrow died on January 31, 2008, and the St. Louis County medical examiner Dr. Thomas Uncini determined that the cause of death was gangrenous appendicitis. The boy had a blood stream infection and shock because his appendix had leaked bacteria into his abdomen.
Morrow family attorney Terry Wade said, “The family is grateful that the jury found that truth and by their verdict recognized what a wonderful boy Andrew was and what a wonderful man everyone expected him to become. Neither this jury nor any jury could give the family what they really wanted: their wonderful son back. Nobody in the courtroom would ever doubt the enormous pain this family suffered every single day.”
Dr. Krause could not be reached for comment after the verdict was announced. He is a specialist in pediatrics at the Mesaba Clinic in Hibbing, Minnesota.
Wade reported that Andrew Morrow was misdiagnosed twice by Dr. Krause within four days. The toddler was misdiagnosed with the flu and later with gastroenteritis. Morrow’s father said that the boy had cried loudly when Dr. Krause examined his abdomen. Although this pain is common with appendicitis, Dr. Krause told Morrow’s father that the boy’s appendix was fine. Dr. Krause did not conduct an ultrasound or CT scan to check the appendix. According to wade, either one of these tests would have likely revealed the problem with the appendix.
Evidence presented during the trial showed that Dr. Krause scheduled pediatric patients in 10-minute increments. The initial diagnosis of influenza was made of the phone, and the family was actually discouraged from bringing their son into the clinic. On that day, Dr. Krause was scheduled to see around 45 children.
As an expert witness, Dr. William Bonadio concluded that the boy’s appendicitis would have been detected if a proper examination had been carried out, and that this would have prevented his death.
Sadly, many physicians have similar schedules, and flu season will only make their schedules more hectic. If you have children, consider taking them to a health clinic to get flu shots. This could very well improve their health as well as that of children. When your child visits the doctor, pay close attention to what the doctor does and says. If something seems amiss, get a second opinion.
If you or a family member has been injured by medical malpractice, contact an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney immediately. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.