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Family of California Toddler Reaches $10 Million Settlement After ER Delays Leads to Amputation

Although their lives are undoubtedly changed forever, 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 can begin to move forward after agreeing to a $10 million California malpractice settlement.

The settlement with Sacramento’s Methodist Hospital and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, ranks among the largest to date in California.

Malyia Jeffers was two years old when her parents took her to Methodist Hospital last November with a fever, skin discoloration, and weakness. According to court documents, the family was repeatedly told to wait.

“While in the waiting room, Malyia grew sicker and weaker,” according to the complaint. “The parents of Malyia repeatedly asked and begged (hospital workers) to treat their daughter.”

The hospital instead told them to continue waiting, and a doctor first saw Malyia over five hours later.

“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 finally 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.

While Malyia is now walking with the help of artificial legs, she 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.