$20M Awarded to Boy Blinded by Hospital

$20M Awarded to Boy Blinded by Hospital

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A Pennsylvania boy who went blind soon after being born was awarded $20 million by a jury who agreed with the plaintiff’s claim that the blindness resulted from the medical negligence of the hospital where he was born and the physician in charge.

The award is one of the largest ever awarded in a medical malpractice case in suburban Philadelphia.
The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against Abington Memorial Hospital on behalf of the now six-year-old Emmitt Lee by his parents, and their lawyer, Shanin Specter. The lawsuit said that Lee was born prematurely and developed retinopathy of prematurity, which is a relatively common eye disease in premature babies.

Specter said the jury found the hospital 60 percent responsible, and the hospital’s head of the neonatology unit, Dr. Ara Moomjian, 35 percent responsible.

According to the lawsuit, soon after being born, the child was seen in June 2000 by Harold Koller, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the hospital. The child’s eyes were healthy at the time.

By late July 2000, the child had shown signs of the early stages of the disease. He was scheduled to see Koller again on August 8, 2000, but was discharged by Moomjian on that day. Moomjian told the family to schedule an appointment with Koller by phone.

“The parents were never told this was an urgent matter,” said Specter.

The family called Koller’s office the following day. They told the family to bring Emmitt in on Aug. 30. By the time they brought him in for his appointment on that day, the disease had progressed and the child was blind, said Specter.

The jury also found Koller’s medical practice four percent responsible for the mistake, and the child’s pediatrician one percent responsible.

The $20 million award is to be divided among the defendants as follows: the Abington Memorial Hospital is to pay $12 million, Dr. Ara Moomjian is to pay $7 million, Dr. Koller’s medical practice is to pay $800,000, and the child’s pediatrician is to pay $200,000.

Victim of medical malpractice? Please contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can inform you of your rights and help you recover the compensation you may be entitled to. 

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