With all of the political hype surrounding medical malpractice lawsuits, sometimes the public loses sight of the human impact of medical errors. These errors occur throughout the country, including Montana, and everyone can sympathize with the victims. But the effect of these stories is certainly amplified when the injured party is a small child.

Readers in Billings will be shocked and saddened to hear of a recent case involving an 8-month-old girl who lost one of her fingers in a terrifying hospital accident that should not have occurred. Doctors were treating the young girl for a respiratory infection when the incident took place. She was moments away from being released to her family to go home.

The medical error involved a hospital nurse cutting a bandage off of the small child’s hand. Likely in a moment of inattention, the nurse accidentally cut off the little girl’s pinky finger while removing the bandage. The child was then airlifted to a hand surgeon, but sadly the finger was simply too small for the doctor to reattach.

The accident happened in Florida, and the family of the small girl filed a lawsuit against the local hospital seeking damages in excess of $15,000 for the injuries the baby sustained. The hospital has not commented on the event other than to note that it was an unfortunate accident and to express compassion and concern for the family of the injured child. The family has not yet seen any compensation for the injury.

When accidents such as this take place, everyone involved suffers tremendously, especially the injured party. Seeking compensation is simply one step in the healing process. While nothing can fully repair the baby’s injury, the family may be able to hold the hospital responsible and perhaps deter similar accidents in the future.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Teen mom sues hospital after nurse slices off baby’s pinky,” Arelis R. Hernandez, March 28, 2012