Hospital admits error harmed newborn baby
The federal government has admitted that it was at fault for giving a newborn baby carbon dioxide instead of oxygen at the Tripler Army Medical Center last year, causing him permanent brain damage.
Born on Jan. 14, 2005, Islam "Izzy" Yasin Ibn Saddiq Peterson now needs 24-hour care provided by nurses at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Honolulu attorney Rick Fried said yesterday that the child eats and breathes through tubes inserted into his throat and stomach.
"It's tough. Every day, they have to deal with Izzy," said Fried. "He's doing as well as could be expected."
A Tripler neonatologist decided to administer oxygen to Izzy a minute after he was born, but then learned 42 minutes later that she was filling his lungs with carbon dioxide.
The hospital staff immediately switched him to oxygen, but by then the damage to his brain was done.
Fried said he was expecting the government to admit wrongdoing sooner or later but was getting worried because of the upcoming trial date of Aug. 15.
"We were hopeful it would come, because the military hasn't tried to claim that they weren't responsible," he said. "We were just getting concerned because of our court-imposed deadlines. And there were things we had to complete if they did not admit liability, depositions primarily."
The admission consisted of one page filed in U.S. District Judge David Ezra's court, stating that the government has "sole liability for injuries sustained by Islam Peterson on Jan. 14, 2005."
The filing was made by Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry Yee, chief of the Civil Division of the Honolulu U.S. Attorney's Office.
Despite the admission of responsibility, the August trial will proceed to determine the amount of damages to be awarded to Izzy's parents, Army Sgt. Dwight Peterson and his wife, Shalay.
Though Fried said both sides have failed to reach a settlement through mediation, he remains hopeful that Izzy's parents will not have to suffer through a trial.
"We're pushing to get this resolved," he said.