Virginia Family Settles MPL Suit for $1.8 Million

The Roanoke Times

Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia, has agreed to pay $1.8 million in the settlement of a lawsuit claiming a video-assisted surgical procedure left a 21-month-old girl with a permanent brain injury.

Percival Zhang and his wife brought their daughter, Michelle, to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital on September 18, 2012. She suffered from, among other things, pneumonia, respiratory distress, bacteria in her blood, low blood platelets, and systemic inflammatory response syndrome, or SIRS, a condition similar to sepsis producing systemic inflammation and possible organ failure. The suit says her pediatric surgeon gained consent from the family to perform video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and that the toddler's anesthesiologist opted for a single lung ventilation method, a technique that allows one lung to be ventilated independently.

The toddler's oxygen levels rapidly began dropping during surgery, causing the child to suffer cardiac arrest, leading to the brain injury, according to the lawsuit. The doctors "shared a joint responsibility to terminate the procedure when it became apparent that Michelle was not tolerating ... [single lung ventilation]," the lawsuit stated.

Under the deal, the child is to be paid slightly more than $5,000 a month for 50 years once she becomes an adult. Lump-sum payments of $50,000 are to be distributed to a special needs trust fund in her name.