(AP) — The family of a California toddler whose feet, left hand and part of her right hand were amputated because of a lengthy emergency room delay has agreed to a $10 million malpractice settlement. Malyia Jeffers was 2-years-old when her parents took her to Sacramento's Methodist Hospital last November with a fever, skin discoloration and weakness. According to court documents, the family was told to wait.
"While in the waiting room, Malyia grew sicker and weaker," according to the complaint filed in Superior Court in Sacramento on February 14. "The parents of Malyia repeatedly asked and begged (hospital workers) to treat their daughter." The hospital instead told them to continue waiting, and it was five hours before Malyia was first seen by a doctor, the document said.
"Ryan Jeffers and Leah Yang saw their daughter get weaker and sicker hour after hour as (hospital workers) chose to delay treatment," the complaint said. "They saw the bruising on her body increase, affecting her legs, arms and face. They were afraid she would die in the waiting room." Malyia was flown to Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Doctors there found that Streptococcus A bacteria had invaded her blood and organs, and they performed the amputations.
Court documents show that most of the money will be placed in a trust for Malyia's current needs and an annuity that will provide her with $16,932 a month when she turns 18. The monthly payment grows over time, so that by the time Malyia is 30, the monthly payout will be nearly double.
The settlement with the Sacramento hospital and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, ranks among the largest in California history, according to medical malpractice attorneys. The family signed a non-disclosure agreement and could not discuss the case, their attorney Moseley Collins said Friday. "What we can say is that Malyia has a new set of artificial legs and she's walking on those," Collins said. "We are pleased we were able to settle the case."
Malyia spent more than three months at Stanford before being admitted to another hospital in Sacramento. She is still undergoing therapy and will need expensive medications, custom prosthetics, special garments and wheelchairs for the rest of her life.