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Tragic Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Ends in $2 Million Plaintiff Award

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Marysville, OH:A medical malpractice lawsuit with horrific emotional consequences has been settled with a $2 million judgment against a doctor who performed tonsillectomies on twin boys at Memorial Hospital of Union County in Ohio, in 2006. Following a two-week trial that amounted to a painful ordeal for the family, the jury on August 6th returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs.

The court heard excruciating testimony with regard to the demise of A.J. and Joshua Legge, twin boys who had just turned three years of age when a Marysville otolaryngologist performed routine tonsillectomies on the pair. As summarized in the August 10th edition of the Columbus Dispatch, all went well and the boys were sent home later that same day, April 18th, 2006.

It was just after midnight the next day when A.J. stopped breathing and was rushed to hospital. A neighbor stayed with the remaining children (twin Joshua and an older brother) while A.J.'s parents went with their son to hospital. Joshua seemed fine at the time.

Doctors fought valiantly to save the child, but were unsuccessful. Incredibly, within minutes of A.J.'s death, a 911 call came in from the neighbor to say that Joshua, too, had stopped breathing.

Joshua Legge died on April 21st, 2006.

During testimony in the medical negligence case, doctors testified that both boys had a history of snoring and trouble breathing when asleep. The defendant testified that the twins suffered from an underlying, undetected pre-existing condition that prevented them from adequately processing the pain medication prescribed to ease their discomfort following surgery.

Those complications served to stop their breathing. Cause of death was listed as cerebral edema, or fluid on the brain.

The defendant, Dr. Fred Leess, testified in the medical malpractice lawsuit that he had, indeed been told about the twins' breathing problems but didn't believe it to be dangerous.
The family maintains that the doctor could have kept the children in hospital overnight for observation, where their breathing and oxygen levels could have been monitored. Court heard that keeping the children overnight was within the doctor's power and is standard practice for children under three years of age who suffer from breathing problems.

In a tragic postscript, Shannon Legge—the twins' father—implored paramedics to go back and fetch Joshua immediately following the death of his twin, realizing that Joshua suffered from the same breathing problems as A.J. and had endured the same surgery, at the same. He suspected Joshua might have been in danger. The 911 call from the neighbor came in while the ambulance was rushing back to the house.

The jury in the medical malpractice claim deliberated for five hours at the end of a two-week trail in Union County Common Pleas Court before finding the matter to be a doctor mistake, and awarding the plaintiffs $2 million.

The doctor involved can appeal the damage award.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Shon Cook
on
So I don't get what the $2 million was for. Is it so the family can afford to buy 2 new kids? That money is not going to bring the kids back. I'm sure the surgeon did not kill the kids on purpose. This was a waste of time for the family, and a waste of money for society. This is going to cause all ENT surgeons to keep all kids in the hospital overnight "just in case". Defensive medicine at its finest. Tragic deaths. Horrific story. Terrible for the family. But shame on this attorney for taking this case, and shame on the expert witness for testifying that the deaths were solely the fault of the surgeon rather than their underlying genetic condition, and shame on this jury for not considering the ramifications of their decision. And people wonder why healthcare costs so much in this country. If $2 million makes this family forget all about their 2 dead boys and become happy again, then shame on that family too. If not, then what was the point of the lawsuit? Make the lawyer rich? Tragic that the kids are dead, but the lawsuit was a total waste of time and money.

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