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Chemotherapy Mix-Up Injures Child

$558,000 – Medical Malpractice/Negligence


Child with a brain tumor was given the wrong chemotherapy drug at twice the dosage. His injuries included hearing loss and kidney damage.

A year after Minor C.R. was born, he was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma (brain tumor) which was surgically removed. At the time, the minor plaintiff was placed on chemotherapy under the direction of Kaiser Hospital, through its employee, Dr. Sam Lew. The chemotherapy involved the administration of Cytoxan and Cisplatin. The prescribed dosage was 700 mg of Cytoxan and 40-45 mg of Cisplatin. The chemotherapy was administered in three-month cycles. The Cytoxan was administered during the first two months of each cycle and the Cisplatin was administered during the third month. On September 2nd, approximately one month before the plaintiff completed his chemotherapy, he was admitted to Kaiser for the Cytoxan treatment. Three hours after the administration of the Cytoxan, the pharmacist noticed that an error had been made in its preparation. Instead of receiving 700 mg of Cytoxan, the plaintiff was administered 70 mg of Cisplatin (twice the dosage of the incorrect chemotherapy drug).


Plaintiff contended that the defendants were negligent in failing to administer the proper medication. The defendant admitted liability, but contended the plaintiff s kidney function is in the normal range at the present time. The defendant also contended that it was not certain that the plaintiff would develop kidney failure. Further, the defendants contended that the plaintiff’s life expectancy should be significantly reduced because of his brain tumor. The plaintiff refuted this contention because his brain tumor had not recurred.


The minor plaintiff suffered high frequency hearing loss and kidney function damage. Future medical expenses were calculated between $220,000 and $950,000 (present value). Future lost earnings were calculated between $143,000 and $500,000 (present value).

Special Notes

The plaintiff demanded $350,000, which included $150,000 in cash, plus an annuity with a present value of $200,000 that would have paid out approximately $2,000,000 assuming a normal life expectancy. The plaintiff filed a C.C.P. section 998 offer to compromise for $695,000. The defendant offered $125,000 in cash, plus the $200,000 annuity.

Plaintiff was awarded $558,000 (present value). The plaintiff received $143,00 for future lost earnings, $165,00 for future medicals and $250,000 for general damages. The case later settled for $205,000 in cash plus annuities which will pay out a total of $2.7 million if the plaintiff reaches 60 years of age.




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