By Doug Chartier, LAW WEEK COLORADO
Establishing causation in a medical malpractice case is seldom a simple task. Nor was it simple in obtaining the largest medical malpractice verdict ever awarded in the state of Colorado.
On March 27, an Arapahoe County jury found the Children’s Hospital of Colorado negligent in its treatment of newborn Naomi Pressey and reached a $17.8 million verdict in favor of the Pressey family.
In February 2008, Naomi was born at Memorial Hospital at Colorado Springs with a congenital heart defect — an aortic coarctation, or narrowing of the aorta. She was transferred to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, where staff prepared her for what expert witnesses would agree is a common procedure to repair the defect, according to James Puga of Leventhal & Puga. He and Sean Leventhal represented the Presseys.
Infants born with Naomi’s condition are typically given a form of prostaglandin, a fatty compound that allows the fetal heart to function. In some post-natal cases, prostaglandin is needed to keep the infant stable leading up to corrective heart surgery.