Pretzel & Stouffer

Trial Victory for Residents and Interns on Timely Diagnosis of MRSA Infection

Brian Henry and Sommer Luzynczyk obtained a jury verdict in favor of a resident physician and an intern who allegedly failed to timely diagnose and treat a necrotizing MRSA skin infection in a nine day old neonate. The plaintiff argued that the defendants failed to appreciate that an area of discoloration and redness on the infant’s front and lateral chest had progressed prior to and during their care of the child. Plaintiff contended that the defendants should have suspected a MRSA necrotizing skin infection and started the infant on Vancomycin 6 hours earlier which would have reduced the spread of the infection by 50 to 70% and would have avoided the infant developing DIC and septic shock. In addition, the plaintiff argued that the defendants’ negligence resulted in the infant requiring skin grafts, extensive permanent scarring, subsequent surgery to revise the skin grafts and the development of a partial growth plate arrest of the distal tibia necessitating surgery for the growth plate arrest.

The defendants argued that there was no progression of the rash until the morning after the child was admitted to the hospital and it was promptly recognized and treated at that time. The defense contended that the discoloration on the child’s chest during the early morning hours was absolutely consistent with bruising from suspected child abuse and that the child’s suspected sepsis was being properly treated. The defense argued that even if Vancomycin had been given earlier, the patient still would have required all of the treatment and surgeries he received and would have sustained the same scarring.

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