The woman underwent a cardiac catheterization at Seattle Children's when she was a teen to replace a fractured stent. The jury found that a stroke she suffered occurred during surgery and wasn't identified in a timely manner.
A King County jury has awarded a West Seattle woman nearly $14 million in a medical-malpractice suit against Seattle Children’s Hospital and Children’s University Medical Group, finding doctors failed to prevent a debilitating stroke that left her unable to care for herself, according to the woman’s attorneys.
Latosha Evans, now 22, underwent a heart transplant in 2007 when she was 12. Through her follow-up appointments, she became well known at Children’s, even appearing in the hospital’s ads, her attorneys, Tom Vertetis and Darrell Cochran, said in a statement Thursday.
In 2013, doctors found that a stent in Evans’ heart had fractured and needed to be replaced, according to the statement. She underwent an elective cardiac catheterization in January 2014. Despite months of planning, doctors realized during the procedure they didn’t have enough stents on hand and were forced to prolong the procedure while they sought stents from the University of Washington Medical Center.
Cardiologists ultimately decided to proceed using a different stent but the procedure ended up lasting four hours, leaving Evans at high risk for stroke, according to the statement. Post-surgery, Evans exhibited obvious symptoms of a stroke but wasn’t tested for stroke for four hours, far too long for doctors to intervene and reverse the damage, it said.
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Evans’ parents filed the lawsuit, claiming negligence and medical malpractice, in October 2015, court records showed.
The jury returned its verdict last week, finding the stroke was caused during the procedure and was not identified in a timely manner, the statement said.
Evans, who will need full-time care for the rest of her life, suffered a variety of injuries, including impaired cognitive function, speech, memory and mobility, according to her attorneys.
The jury awarded $10.95 million for Evans’ future economic losses and $3 million in general damages, the statement said.
Court records showed that the jury found Evans’ doctors, who work under Children’s University Medical Group, were negligent in her care. Jurors determined that her nurses, employed by Seattle Children’s Hospital, were not.
“We understand that navigating a complex medical condition can be very difficult, and our deepest sympathy goes out to Latosha Evans and her family,” Kathryn Mueller, a hospital spokeswoman, said in an email. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to patient safety and providing the highest quality medical care.”