A federal judge in Seattle awarded A $ 13.7 million to the family of a severely disabled child who was born after a nurse at a community clinic gave the mother a flu shot instead of a contraceptive shot without giving herself bill.
A U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik last week awarded the girl $ 10.3 million for her medical, educational and other expenses, in addition to $ 3.4 million in damages to her parents, The Seattle Times reported.
After a trial earlier this year, Judge Lasnik found that the mother, Yeseni Pacheco, did not want to get pregnant and would not have gotten pregnant in 2011 if the nurse at the Neighborcare Health clinic had given her the correct injection.
The federal government is liable for the damages because the clinic, which serves low-income and uninsured patients, is federally funded.
Attorneys for the family, Mike Maxwell and Steve Alvarez, described the case in court documents as a “wrongful pregnancy” and “wrongful life” case.
They said the case was a close battle and harshly criticized the government for refusing to accept responsibility from the start.
“Luis and Yesenia Pacheco are pleased to be closer to receiving the funds necessary for their daughter’s extraordinary medical care and training,” they wrote in a statement. “It was a long and hard road for the family.”
Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle, who defended the lawsuit, said some of the delays were necessary to ensure that medical experts could accurately measure the extent of the child’s disabilities.
Pacheco, a Salvadoran refugee who moved to the United States when she was 16 years old, had come to the clinic to receive a quarterly injection of Depo-Provera, a hormone used for birth control.
A nurse at the clinic who had been administering walk-in flu shots all day apparently did not review Ms. Pacheco’s history, but instead administered the flu shot, the court concluded.
Pacheco didn’t discover the bug until he called to schedule his next appointment, more than two months later. By then, I was pregnant.
The boy is now eight years old and in third grade at a school in the Everett area, north of Seattle.
According to court documents, he suffers from a birth defect known as bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria (PMG), which has led to cognitive delays, slow speech and language, epilepsy, vision problems and other complications.
Maxwell said that he will live a normal life and will need some level of care and assistance throughout his life.
Lawyers for the Justice Department are asking that part of the award be placed in a “reversal trust” that would return to the government if the girl does not need it.