A family in Florida is suing a hospital alleging that it provided negligent care to a toddler who swallowed a battery. The toddler suffered severe burns because, the family alleges, the hospital took too long to remove the small button battery.
The National Poison Control Center recommends removing a button battery after a child ingests it within two hours. The hospital removed the battery five hours after the family got to the hospital with their daughter on March 10, 2016. The child has since undergone 20 surgeries.
According to the family, Dr. David Smith, whom the family is also suing, told them that the situation was not any different from swallowing a coin. But the family said they wanted the doctors to remove the battery immediately, as they were worried about chemical exposure.
“He seemed pretty relaxed about the whole situation,” the girl’s father said according to the Associated Press report. “A little while later, we learned there is an electrical burn taking place in her esophagus, and she was rushed to emergency surgery.”
Suing Hospitals and Doctors for Burn Injuries
Victims of burn injuries at hospitals – or their families – may seek compensation for their damages if another party is liable for them. In this case, the family alleges that negligent care by the hospital contributed to the child’s injuries. If successful, a burn injury lawsuit can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The family reports that doctors say their daughter may need treatment into her teens. But her prognosis is still unknown. The family has reportedly spent $300,000 to $400,000 on medical bills, and have faced additional expenses as they traveled to Boston for treatment every couple of weeks.
The girl’s mother also reportedly had to take off work so she can care for her daughter, and has since returned only part time. The amount the family is seeking in the lawsuit is not yet determined.
Preventing Burn Injuries in the Home
In this case, the child swallowed a coin battery that came from a remote control. The child’s mother reportedly saw her swallow it, but was unable to get it out because it had already gone down her throat.
In addition to close supervision, parents should take safety measures to prevent access to items containing coin or button batteries, such as putting them out of reach or locking them in a drawer or cabinet.
See our blog on babyproofing your home against child burn hazards for more tips. And if you need a lawyer after a burn accident, call 844-549-8774 to speak with one of our lawyer referral specialists.