A Glendale Superior Court jury decided 9-3 to award $15 million to a child who developed a serious neurological disorder caused by untreated jaundice. Aidan, born March 24, 2003 at Verdugo Hills Hospital in California, reportedly exhibited several risk factors for a neurological disorder called kernicterus when he developed jaundice after birth. Jaundice is a sign of the buildup of bilirubin, a yellow bile pigment. Aiden’s parents were told that the jaundice would go away by itself and were handed a pamphlet that stated that jaundice did not produce a serious medical risk. Aiden’s attorney’s stated that the hospital and Aiden’s doctor should have been attentive and given him appropriate treatment to reduce the buildup. Lawyers for Verdugo Hills Hospital argued that Aidan was born healthy and was still in excellent health when he discharged from the hospital. Aidan was no longer the hospital’s responsibility.
Aidan, now four 4 years old, has normal intelligence but can’t control a single muscle in his body. He is unable to do such things as walk and feed himself and is in need of constant medical attention. His lawyers argued in court that this was all preventable. The current value of the award, $15 million is expected to reach $96 million over the course of his life to cover all future medical treatment. Lawyers for both Verdugo Hills Hospital and Aidan’s doctor said they would appeal the award. California does have a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards so it is now unclear how this would affect the jury’s award.