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Case Results

Young boy burned by scalding water and taken by ambulance to the children's hospital. Treated and released from hospital the next day. He died of infection 5 days later.

A young boy was burned by scalding water and taken by ambulance to the children's hospital. He was treated and released from the hospital the next day. He died of infection five days later.

The three-year-old boy suffered second and third degree burns when a pot of boiling water fell off the stove onto his back. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital. His wounds were debrided1 and treated. He spent the night in the hospital and went home with his parents the next day. He returned to the hospital for a follow-up examination with a nurse practitioner. His mother called the hospital on two occasions and reported that the boy was fretful, complained of pain, had areas on his body that were red and swollen, and he was lethargic. He died of septic shock2 five days later. No autopsy was performed.

There were significant legal and factual defenses. The case settled for $250,000. The boy's wrongful death3 beneficiaries were his parents and two brothers.


1Debride: To remove dead, contaminated or adherent tissue or foreign materials. The purpose of wound debridement is to remove all materials that may promote infection and impede healing. This may be done by enzymatic debridement (as with proteolytic enzymes), mechanical non-selective debridement (as in a whirlpool), or sharp debridement (by surgery). 

2Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock: Inflammatory states resulting from the systemic response to bacterial infection. In severe sepsis and septic shock, there is critical reduction in tissue perfusion. Common causes include gram-negative organisms, staphylococci, and meningococci. Symptoms often begin with shaking chills and include fever, hypotension, oliguria, and confustion. Acute failure of multiple organs can occur, including the lungs, kidneys and liver. Treatment is aggressive fluid resuscitation, antibiotics, surgical excision of infected or necrotic tissues and drainage of pus, supportive care, and sometimes intensive control of blood glucose and administration of corticosteroids and activated protein C. 

3"Wrongful death" occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company or entity. An action for wrongful death belongs to the decedent's immediate family members ("beneficiaries").

Awarded: Settlement $250,000

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Weiner, Spivey & Miller, PLC
10605 Judicial Drive
Suite B6
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 273-9500
Fax: (703) 273-9505
Toll Free: 1-877-611-0605
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