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Girl who lost limbs in ER wait settles for $10 million


Malyia Jeffers was only 2-years-old when her parents took her into Sacramento’s Methodist Hospital in November 2010, complaining of fever, skin discoloration and weakness. Not unlike many parents who go to the ER with their sick children, they were told to fill out forms. And then wait.

"While in the waiting room, Malyia grew sicker and weaker," according to the complaint filed in Superior Court in Sacramento on Feb. 14. "The parents of Malyia repeatedly asked and begged (hospital workers) to treat their daughter."

It was five hours before Malyia was seen by a doctor. By the time she actually saw a medical professional, bruises had begun appearing on her body. The complaint alleges that her parents were afraid she would actually die in the waiting room while waiting to see a doctor.

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After waiting for five hours and then seeing a doctor, the doctors she saw determined her case was serious and her need for treatment was immediate. She was flown to Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, and once she got there, doctors found she had Streptococcus A and had to perform several amputations, part of each of her four limbs, to isolate and remove the infected tissue. Malyia’s feet, left hand and part of her right hand were ultimately amputated.

The hospital settled the case for $10 million, and the money will be set up in a trust by Malyia’s parents to cover the costs of her medical care for the rest of her life. Part of the money is in an annuity that will provide her with $16,932 a month when she turns 18, and as she grows older, that money will gradually increase, almost doubling by the time she turns 30.

Malyia’s medical care will be ongoing. She will need expensive medications, custom prosthetics, special garments designed to help her walk and a wheelchair for the rest of her life. The family’s attorney, Moseley Collins, said he was glad the family was able to settle the case, but they were not able to comment on it because of a non-disclosure agreement that was included in the settlement.

"What we can say is that Malyia has a new set of artificial legs and she's walking on those," Collins said. "We are pleased we were able to settle the case."
The $10 million settlement was with Sacramento Methodist Hospital and its parent company, Catholic Hospital West, and medical malpractice attorneys said it is the largest settlement in California history.



This breaks my heart. Consumers need to now how to advocate for the care they need. Leave the ER and call an ambulance - ask for a manager, hospital administrator - call an advocate - family doctor, nurse - anyone you can think of if you find yourself ever in a situation like this.