Tulsa Physician’s Failure to Diagnose and Failure to Provide Adequate Care Causes Infant Death and Leads to $5 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict.
Physician Dr. Michael Chang was found liable for $5 million in damages in light of a medical malpractice suit stemming from his failure to properly diagnose and treat a pediatric patient for Kawasaki disease, resulting in the patient’s death. The parents of the child, Nao Vang and Lo Vangseng, filed the lawsuit after their infant daughter Madison died following a negligent diagnosis of a commonplace childhood virus at Warren Clinic Inc. After Dr. Chang claimed the infant’s affliction was merely a virus, prescribing only Tylenol, while her parents remained concerned. While her fever continued, the parents made multiple visits to the hospital in fruitless, futile attempts to prevent the fatal complications of her disease. Madison died 3 weeks later due to the inflammation of her blood vessels (vasculitis), the subsequent clogged pathways to the heart (coronary arteritis), as well as the enlargement of her heart (myocarditis).
Despite Madison’s presentation of symptoms that align with the fatal disease, including lymphadenopathy, persistent high fever, and a red skin rash, Dr. Chang merely advised the parents to administer acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Motrin to the 8-month-old. Madison’s sister, Isabella, had previously been treated for Kawasaki disease, and Dr. Michael Chang was aware of the family’s medical history regarding this fact. It is common medical knowledge that if close family have a specific affliction, the likelihood of another close family member’s chance of acquiring the same disease skyrockets. Dr. Chang knew that the probability Madison could become afflicted with Kawasaki disease increased tenfold once her sister came down with the malady. Kawasaki disease is also much more prevalent in those of Asian origin, like the daughter of Vang and Vangseng, which should have alerted Dr. Chang to the incredibly high possibility and extreme likelihood that Madison would become afflicted with the sickness.
The parents, as well as the Tulsa, OK District Judge Linda Morrissey, argued that Dr. Chang’s failure to diagnose the Oklahoma pediatric patient’s illness, whether intentional or not, was clearly negligent behavior to his duties as a care-provider, while also upholding the plaintiff’s arguments that the Dr. Chang’s primary employer, Saint Francis Health System, was also liable in the case. Deliberations over the decision of this case took two weeks to find that Dr. Chang’s behavior was negligent, violated his duty of care to the patient, and resulted in the wrongful death of the child patient, as well as finding that the parents be compensated for emotional distress, loss of consortium, and the wrongful death of their daughter.