In 2010, Malyia Jeffers’ parents rushed her to the hospital as the two-year-old’s skin turned purple and streptococcus spread through her body. Despite the skin discoloration, weakness, and fever, the family was told to wait, and Malyia grew sicker. After a four-hour wait, Malyia was finally seen by a doctor, but her legs and portions of both her hands needed to be amputated. According to Fox 40, the family later won a $10 million malpractice settlement, and the hospital has made several changes in order to avoid future tragedies.
After bringing their daughter to the Methodist Hospital of Sacramento, Malyia’s parents repeatedly asked and begged the hospital staff to treat their daughter. The toddler’s bruising continued to increase as the hours passed. Once a doctor saw her, Malyia was flown to Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, where doctors found that Streptococcus A bacteria had invaded her blood and organs, and they were forced to amputate.
The family felt that the delay in the ER was a blatant case of medical malpractice, as the hospital staff wasted precious time that could have been spent saving their daughter’s limbs. After filing a lawsuit, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that the family was left waiting for up to four hours before they saw a doctor. A $10 million malpractice settlement was reached and ranks among the largest in California history. The hospital is also responsible to cover the cost of Malyia’s past and future medical care.
Changes were made in the hospital due to the malpractice case. A designated nurse now assesses patients who come into the ER 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Staff and officials have also implemented new procedures, policies and audits.
Although Malyia is adjusting to life with her prosthetic limbs, she will need therapy, expensive medications, special garments, and wheelchairs for the rest of her life. Attorney Moseley Collins, who helped the family obtain their settlement, notes how the investigation and lawsuit can help future patients: “It’s forced the hospital to look at what they’re doing and to make changes that result in better care.”