San Jose Medical Malpractice Case Results After Boy Suffers Catastrophic Brain Stem Injury, Part 1 of 2

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the San Jose area, such as Kaiser Permanente, Regional Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, or O’Connor Hospital.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Catastrophic brain stem injury was reportedly caused by primary trauma associated with the herniation and massive subsequent hemorrhage. The teen is in a persistent vegetative state with a tracheotomy. He is dependent on a gastrostomy tube for nutrition and requires round-the-clock attendant care. Plaintiff experts calculated his monthly care costs to be $50,000.


In April 2006, the plaintiff, a 13-year-old fifth-grader, presented to health care providers with complaints of persistent headaches for four days. Based upon a CT scan and the clinical presentation, the attending pediatric neurologist suspected that the headaches were due to increased intracranial pressure caused by a build up of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) probably due to a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt malfunction.

The plaintiff was born with hydrocephaly, a condition occurring secondarily to obstruction of the CSF pathways in the brain and accompanied by an accumulation of CSF within the skull. He had a VP shunt inserted, which drained CSF from the brain to the gut, decreasing and stabilizing intracranial pressure. The VP shunt was controlled by a pressure valve, which opens the shunt when excess CSF causes increased intracranial pressure. It is common for CSF to form clots, causing the shunt to malfunction.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

The shunt tubing had never been revised or replaced. The child was approximately 5′ 7‘ tall and weighed 150 pounds. X-rays taken at admission indicated that the distal tip of the VP shunt was not in the gut as intended, but somewhere in the child’s chest.

The VP shunt was not worked up upon admission. The neurosurgeon performed a suboccipital decompressive craniectomy without first decompressing the brain from above. Catastrophic brain stem injury resulted, according to the allegations.

The plaintiff’s parents and natural Protectors sued the hospital and the neurosurgeon for negligent treatment.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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