A Jefferson Parish jury has awarded a woman $24.2 million in damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories and Hospira, Inc. Jurors found that her toddler son, 3 years old at the time of surgery, was left with irreversible brain damage after an infusion pump malfunctioned during his surgery in March 2005 at the Jefferson Highway hospital.
The surgery, which occurred seven years ago, was to correct a congenital heart defect. The pump, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories and Hospira Inc., failed and delivered epinephrine, an adrenalin drug, into the child’s body, triggering cardiac arrest. The child, now 9 years old, was examined in court in front of the jury. The jury decided he should receive $20 million for future medical expenses.
Jurors found Abbott and Hospira failed to meet the warranty provision of their contract with Ochsner. Ochsner admitted liability in 2007 and paid the $100,000 cap spelled out in state law, triggering involvement of the Louisiana Patients Compensation Fund, a state-administered malpractice fund. The jury decided the compensation fund should bear 35 percent of the award, about $8.5 million. The compensation fund is considering an appeal. Abbott/Hospira was found responsible for having the unreasonably dangerous infusion pump under the Louisiana Products Liability Act (“LPLA”).