Thursday, July 12, 2001

Couple wins
lawsuit over delay
in girl’s treatment

The U.S. government must
pay $1.44 million to a military
family for a 27-hour delay
at Tripler Medical Center

By Rosemarie Bernardo

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. government to pay an Army couple $1.44 million for a brain injury to their 6-month-old daughter after physicians at Tripler Army Medical Center failed to treat her in a timely manner in 1997.

Attorney Mark Davis, who represented the family, said a 27-hour delay in treatment of Kathryn James for meningitis resulted in injury to the frontal lobe of her brain.

Although Kathryn, who is now 5, has recovered significantly, she continues to have serious academic and behavioral problems, Davis said yesterday, and she suffers from a seizure disorder.

After a trial last month, U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay awarded the family $210,925 to cover her future medical expenses, $730,000 for loss of enjoyment in life and general damages and $500,000 for parents' emotional distress.

Davis said, "The family is now stationed in Georgia, and this award will ensure that she receives the appropriate medical, academic and rehabilitation services that she will need certainly over the course of her formative years and lifetime."

Margaret Tippy, spokeswoman for Tripler Army Medical Center, said she has yet to review the court's decision and could not comment.

On Jan. 7, 1997, at 2:07 a.m., Quinton and Cheryl James took Kathryn to Tripler complaining that she was having a possible seizure and fever, according to court documents.

Medical records say Kathryn's appearance was "well-appearing and interactive." She was released five hours later and advised to take Tylenol and Motrin.

At 7:30 p.m., Kathryn's parents said, their daughter's fever returned. The couple took their daughter to Schofield Barracks Clinic at 9:30 p.m., and she was later transported to Tripler by 1:35 a.m. on Jan. 8, 1997, according to Kay's decision.

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