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Failure to Timely Diagnosis Treatable Herpes Simplex Encephalitis Results In $2.5 Million Settlement

Amount: $1,122,009

This is a case which was pending in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It was a claim which was settled just prior to Trial in the amount of $2,500,000.00. The facts of this case arc as follows.

Our Client was a young girl 8 years of age who enjoyed a normal childhood. In February, 2006 she began experiencing neurological systems and was taken to the local emergency room in by her mother. The pediatric neurologist who saw the Client created a differential diagnosis which included ADEM and Herpes Symplex Encephalitis. Both these diseases are essentially viral infections of the brain which can cause permanent brain damage. There is no known treatment for ADEM other than hospitalization, observation and medical support. On the other hand, Herpes Symplex Encephalitis can be treated with an antiviral drug known as Acyclovir. However the drug must be timely given in an effort to avoid permanent brain damage.

It was he Firm’s position that the drug Acyclovir was untimely given, resulting in permanent neurological damage to the Client.

The Firm hired expert witnesses in the field of interventional radiology, neurology, pediatric neurology, infectious disease, pediatric infectious disease, a psychiatrist who prepared a Life Care Plan and an economist who evaluated the economic damages sustained by this young girl.

The Hospital took the position that the Client’s presentation at their hospital was not typical for Herpes Symplex Encephalitis and, as a result, there is no need to prescribe the antiviral drug Acyclovir until a diagnosis had been confirmed. Moreover, the Hospital maintained that had Acyclovir been prescribed earlier. The Client would have had the same permanent neurological deficits.

This matter proceeded to nearly two years of litigation. A full day of mediation was scheduled but did not successfully resolve the case. A Settlement Conference before the Court was commenced, also failing to settle the claim. Less than three weeks before Trial, the matter was able to be settled in the amount of $2,500,000.00.

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