The infection that set in after Navy officer Marites Campano gave birth at Hawaii’s Tripler Army Medical Center could have and should have been treated with IV antibiotics. Instead, doctors and staff did nothing, even when faced with a patient in extraordinary pain for two days. Campano eventually became septic and now is faced with years of dialysis and the prospect of having both of her kidneys replaced.
Tripler eventually admitted liability in the incident and the trial began for damages. In the end, Campano and her family were awarded $24.7 million for her pain, suffering, and ongoing care, as well as the impacts to her family members.
This is one of the largest medical malpractice awards in Hawaii’s history and is the largest – of many – awards involving the military medical facility.
Tripler’s history is, indeed, extensive. 2010 saw an $11 million award to a family whose baby was delivered by doctors without sufficient experience and expertise to safely and effectively carry out the birth. Years earlier, another family was awarded $16.5 million when Tripler staff gave their newborn carbon dioxide rather than the oxygen she so desperately needed.
In the Campano’s case, Tripler has said that it “respects the decision of the U.S. District Court and extends [its] continued support to the patient and family.” More than that continued support, however, one can assume that the Campano family would have just wanted Tripler’s medical staff to treat Marites’ infection before it altered the rest of her life; and their lives along with it.
Medical errors are a leading cause of death in the United States. It’s estimated that over 100,000 lives are lost every year to medical malpractice with 1.3 million Americans injured at the hands of those they have entrusted to heal them. In many cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be the only vehicle a family has to recuperating the losses and pain they will be forced to endure.