Heygood, Orr & Pearson represented a severely brain damaged child in this medical malpractice case against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division; Cause No. SA-01-CA-0050. The defense was represented by Mr. Raymond A. Nowak, Assistant United States Attorney, San Antonio, Texas.
The case involved Inga Pleasant, a 7-year old little girl who was involved in a bicycle accident on May 8, 1998. This accident caused a mild head injury, a broken jaw and a broken leg. Inga was taken to nearby Wilford Hall Medical Center (a military hospital) for treatment. On the second day of Inga’s hospital stay, she was taken to surgery for repair of her broken jaw and her broken leg. During surgery, Inga was administered fluids in an amount approximately 3 times the appropriate amount for a child her size. These excess fluids caused Inga to develop pulmonary edema and accompanying respiratory distress. Despite these developments and despite the fact that Inga’s jaws were wired shut, Inga was extubated by the nurse anesthetist. Inga’s heart rate then dropped to the 40s. Despite this development, Inga received only “close monitoring.” Approximately 10 minutes later, Inga’s pulses and sats disappeared and CPR was initiated. Although she was eventually resuscitated, it was too late and Inga unfortunately suffered a severe anoxic brain injury that has left her in a permanent state of minimal consciousness. The case settled for $6,749,200.