At the center of a Santa Clara County lawsuit is a young child who contracted salmonella in a local hospital. According to the suit, the child’s mother believes that the intestinal disorder spread in the nursery, ultimately infecting several infants. The hospital filed a motion to dismiss the suit, but a judge allowed it to proceed.

The mother filed a malpractice lawsuit against the Modesto hospital after her newborn daughter became ill in the nursery in 2012. When the suit was filed, it was suspected that the formula may have been contaminated. The manufacturer demonstrated the safety of their product and was subsequently dropped as a defendant. One pediatrician spoke on behalf of the plaintiff, testifying that the formula may have been contaminated when it was prepared in the nursery, and sterile protocol would have prevented the bacteria’s spread.

The hospital countered that the infection was most likely transmitted when the mother breastfed the infant or when family members visited. The plaintiff’s attorney, however, said that there was no clear consensus that the mother breastfed the child.

The plaintiff alleges that three or four infants were infected at the same hospital. Salmonella is passed through contact with food and causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever and may affect joints and the heart. In this case, the strain of salmonella was drug resistant, and the child remains a carrier. The family says they are fearful that others will catch it. The malpractice suit is asking for $50,000 for medical expenses and $250,000 in pain and suffering for the child.

An attorney may help a claimant in a similar case to determine medical negligence by reviewing records and obtaining expert medical opinion. An attorney might also be able to negotiate a settlement or push the case to a civil trial.

Source: Merced Sun-Star, “Judge rules salmonella lawsuit against Doctors Medical Center can proceed”, Ken Carlson, September 03, 2014

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