Seattle – A federal judge in Seattle has awarded $ 10 million to the family of a severely disabled child born after a clinic nurse inadvertently gave the mother an flu shot instead of a birth control injection.
The Seattle Times reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnick last week awarded the child $ 7.5 million in medical, educational and other expenses, along with $ 2.5 million in damages to his parents.
After a trial earlier this year, Lasnik found that Jesse Pacheco’s mother did not want to get pregnant and would not have become pregnant in 2011 if the nurse at the Neighborcare Health Clinic had given her the right shot.
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The federal government is responsible for the damage because the clinic, which serves low-income and uninsured patients, is funded by the federal government.
“Luis and Jessenia Pacheco are pleased to be closer to receiving the funds needed for their daughter’s emergency medical care and training,” they said in a statement. “It’s been a long, difficult journey for the family.”
Emily Langley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, which defended the case, said some of the delays were needed to ensure that medical experts could accurately measure the child’s disability.
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Pacheco, a refugee from El Salvador who moved to the United States at the age of 16, had gone to the clinic for a three-month injection of Depo-Provera, a hormone used to control the birth rate.
A nurse at the clinic, who had been performing transient flu contraindications all day, apparently did not check Pacheco’s chart and instead gave Pacheco a flu vaccine, the court found.
Pacheco did not find the mistake until he called to make his next appointment, more than two months later. She was pregnant at the time.
The child is now 8 years old and is in third grade at a school in the Everett area, north of Seattle.
According to court documents, she suffers from a birth defect known as bilateral perisilvian polymicrogyria (PMG), which has led to cognitive delays, delayed speech and language skills, epilepsy, vision problems and other complications.
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She has an IQ of 70, according to the family’s lawyers. Maxwell said she would live a normal life and would need some level of care and assistance throughout her life.
Justice Ministry lawyers want part of the award to be placed in a “confidential order” to be returned to the government if the girl does not need it.