New Mexico residents may or may not have heard last year about the three-month-old baby on the West Coast who suffered a third-degree burn at the hands of an emergency room nurse. The nurse was attempting to view the baby's veins in order to start an IV when the serious injury occurred. The hospital has been fined by the family's home state and the child's parents have filed a civil action.
The burn was from a light whose protective covering was not in place. It is claimed that the nurse wrapped the baby's hand around the light and "held it tight," causing the severe burn to the baby's palm. As a result of that burn, the child had to have skin grafts done.
As she grows, she may have to have additional reconstructive surgeries performed since the skin from her groin may not grow as fast as the skin of her hand. In addition, there is a possibility that hair could grow on that palm because of where the skin was taken from to use for the graft. It is also alleged that she will have lifelong complications due to the injury.
The hospital says it has taken "corrective action" to ensure this type of incident will not be repeated. According to reports, this includes retraining of nurses and staff along with strict policies and procedures regarding the proper use of equipment. The hospital has also said it took "progressive disciplinary corrective action" against the nurse involved in this incident.
The family, through its attorney, has indicated that the lawsuit was filed in order to avoid this type of serious injury happening to another child. There have been offers to settle made, but the hospital has supposedly refused to settle to this point. Anyone in New Mexico who has suffered injury at the hands of medical personnel may file similar civil action for damages, which could include provision for future medical treatment, if necessary.
Source: mercedsunstar.com, State fines Mercy Medical Center Merced $50,000 for baby's injury, Victor A. Patton, Oct. 25, 2013