Doctors Hospital in Modesto has become the focus of a lawsuit concerning tainted baby formula. Sheila Vega has filed a lawsuit against the hospital claiming that her newborn daughter, Skylin, contracted salmonella while in the hospital’s neonatal unit. Skylin is now 15 months old but is still testing positive for the bacteria.
Salmonella is a very serious bacteria usually associated with food poisoning. However, it is very possible for a baby to acquire the bacteria through improperly sanitized formula. If an infant contracts this bacteria, it can cause organ damage and other serious medical problems.
Abbott Labs, the makers of the infant formula used by Doctors Hospital, have stated that their formula is tested at every stage of products for quality and purity. The Stanislaus County Health Department has launched an investigation into the matter but has not included the baby’s parents in its investigative process. The hospital denies that any negligence on the part of the staff led to the little girl’s infection, but the mother insists that she could only have contracted the bacteria in the hospital.
According to the Vega family, the little girl is finding it difficult to lead a normal life. She cannot attend day care due to the fact that she is still testing positive for salmonella infection.
There are two ways that this family might approach a lawsuit against those responsible for the baby’s illness. First, a products liability lawsuit might be filed against the maker of the formula used by the hospital. A product liability lawsuit is most appropriate when a product manufactured by a particular company causes illness, injury or death to a user. Product liability lawsuits are filed on everything from infant formula to automobiles.
The other type of lawsuit that could be appropriate in this case is a medical malpractice lawsuit. Malpractice lawsuits are filed against healthcare providers who are negligent in providing quality care to patients. Malpractice may occur by commission of an act or by failing to act in a certain manner that promotes patient health. Malpractice lawsuits are most appropriate when a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider has done something or failed to do something that normal healthcare procedure would require. For example, if a doctor operates on a patient but fails to remove a sponge that later causes an infection, the patient might have grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
Whether a malpractice lawsuit or a product liability lawsuit is most appropriate in this case depends on the true story of the tainted formula. If the formula was infected before it was put into a bottle and given to the infant, a product liability lawsuit would be the correct type of action. If, on the other hand, a nurse transferred the bacteria to the baby by failing to sterilize bottles, nipples or other equipment, a medical malpractice lawsuit might be a more appropriate choice.
A personal injury attorney may be able to help the family of a victim of defective products or medical malpractice.