Five years after 3-year-old Jason Fox’s death, a Suffolk County jury has awarded his parents $15 million in Massachusetts medical malpractice damages: $5 million for wrongful death, $5 million for the boy’s pain and suffering, and $5 million for the loss of their child. The family’s attorney, James Fox, said fighting the case was an “uphill battle.”
Jason, who was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, died in December 2004 after undergoing a procedure at Children’s Hospital in Boston a year and a half earlier to treat his birth defect. The serious defect, which was treatable, prevented his limbs and organs from receiving enough oxygen.
Jason underwent seven cardiac catheterizations and open heart surgery. During his second catheterization in April 2003, Jason had a seizure. The contrast dye, which allowed doctors to better see his anatomy, went into his brain.
Doctors who conducted an MRI to determine if he now had brain damage found a piece of metal in his brain that they think came from a medical instrument. They are not sure which procedure or what hospital the metal piece came from. The toddler’s heart rate dropped during the MRI and doctors had to revive him. Jason couldn’t speak or walk when he left the hospital. He sustained permanent brain injuries and eventually died.
Jason’s parents, Brian and Andrea Fox, say the doctors lied about what they did when treating their son and tried to cover up their actions. In Superior Court last week, the jury blamed Dr. James Lock and anesthesiologist Dr. James A. DiNardo for the boy’s wrongful death. They found at least two other doctors liable for providing Jason with negligent medical care.
Because of an agreement reached between the defendants and plaintiffs before the $15 Million Boston wrongful death verdict was announced, the actual medical malpractice award will be less.
Family wins $15 million malpractice judgment against Children’s, MyFoxBoston, December 18, 2009
Tetralogy of Fallot, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute