A family in Seattle received $10 million in damages after a woman was given the flu vaccine instead of birth control, resulting in an unplanned pregnancy and lifelong medical expenditures for the child.
The woman who brought the lawsuit says she was given doses of Depo-Provera, a birth control shot, every three months. She already had two kids.
On September 30, 2011, she went to the Neighborcare Health Center for her quarterly dose. The plaintiff’s doctor testified that she kept records on her patient. She alleged the nurse, who had been giving flu shots all day, neglected to look at her chart and administered a flu shot instead of birth control.
The plaintiff gave birth to a daughter, now 9 years old. Unfortunately, she has a birth defect—bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria (PMG), and is now suffering from vision issues, cognitive delays, epilepsy, and slowed speech development.
This resulted in an eight-year legal battle, and the court eventually ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The judge stated: “Had she received a Depo-Provera injection on September 30, 2011, she would not have conceived. The unintended pregnancy and birth of [the minor child] were foreseeable consequences of [the nurse’s] error.”
The court awarded $7.5 million in compensation to the child for extraordinary educational and medical expenditures, as well as $1 million to the father and $1.5 million to the mother for mental and emotional distress.
According to attorney Mike Maxwell, from Maxwell Graham, the couple expressed gratitude about the decision and relieved that the battle is over. Maxwell Graham is a personal injury law firm in Issaquah, Washington. Mike Maxwell co-counselled with attorney Steve Alvarez in the case.
“This has been a hard-fought battle and a long, difficult road for the family,” Maxwell said. “My clients are pleased that they’re closer to receiving the funds needed for their daughter’s extraordinary medical care and training. She will need specialized care for the rest of her life, and this award will go a long way towards providing that. When medical facilities fail to give the correct treatment to the right patient, there is an obligation to compensate for the resulting expenses and emotional distress.”
Mike Maxwell is a lawyer and the founder of Maxwell Graham law firm. He’s served as a personal injury attorney for over 17 years and has tried more than 100 cases to verdict, arbitration, or settlement by motion.