In July, Judge Erlick of the King County Superior Court awarded the family of MacKenzie Briant a $15.2 million judgment against the defendants, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington.
The judgment resulted from a medical malpractice case where a simple miscommunication between two doctors resulted in a 4-year-old girl going into cardiac arrest and suffering permanent brain damage.
The plaintiff was a young girl from Snoqualmie who had survived a heart transplant when she was a baby. When the injury occurred, she had been suffering from cold symptoms and a runny nose. Her mother called her cardiologist at Seattle Children’s for advice about what to give her daughter to treat the cold symptoms.
The doctor that returned her call was a cardiology fellow. He consulted with MacKenzie’s regular cardiologist. Her regular doctor instructed the fellow to not recommend that MacKenzie take Afrin, an over-the-counter nasal spray. The fellow misunderstood MacKenzie’s doctor and instead recommended to the mother that MacKenzie take Afrin.
Roughly ten minutes after taking the Afrin, MacKenzie suffered cardiac arrest, and severe brain damage resulted. It truly is a heart-breaking story that such a small communication resulted in so much loss for the Briant family.
We handle numerous medical negligence cases, and unfortunately, the stories behind them are often troubling, such as this one. This story reminds us of why we fight for our clients. Even if a doctor or a hospital does not hurt someone on purpose, stories like these remind us that hardship still results, and sometimes families need the benefit of a judgment like this, to provide ongoing treatment and other security.
Our condolences go out to the Briant family.