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Government Agrees to Pay $1.5 Million In Madigan Foot Claim

June 13, 1985

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ The federal government has agreed to pay $1.5 million to a young woman who suffered permanent brain damage at Madigan Army Medical Center during surgery to correct pigeon-toed feet.

More than 30 malpractice claims totaling $150 million are pending against the hospital. Settlement of other claims has cost the government more than $20 million in recent years. The pending claims allege 12 people have died as a result of negligent medical care at the Army hospital.

Last month, a federal judge awarded $6.3 million to the family of a baby who suffered brain damage during her birth at the hospital.

In the case settled May 15, Peggy Grover, who was a 19-year-old Bethel High School student when she entered the hospital in May 1984, underwent surgery to correct a congenital defect in her hip ligaments that made her slightly pigeon-toed.

She went into pulmonary and cardiac arrest on the operating table after receiving drugs to which she was allergic, sustaining ″severe and permanent brain damage,″ according to lawyer Edmund Jacobs and documents filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

The young woman’s mother, Evelyn Grover, alleged the hospital was negligent for failing to adequately monitor respiration, heart beat, blood pressure and other vital signs and failing to recognize pulmonary distress.

Maj. Anthony Sado, a Madigan doctor, said in a letter to the court that Ms. Grover was in a ″vegetative state″ after the attempted operation and would need a guardian because she was unable to care for herself.

Sado’s letter confirmed Ms. Grover had sustained cardiac and respiratory arrest during the operation.

Verne Curda, a Madigan spokesman, said Tuesday that the hospital would have no comment on the case.

Ms. Grover has been undergoing rehabilitation at Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle but has problems walking, talking and remembering, Jacobs said Tuesday.

The settlement calls for Ms. Grover to receive $500,000 in one payment while the government will spend another $1 million to purchase annuities and trusts that will pay interest for at least 30 years.

Jacobs said the settlement could provide Ms. Grover as much as $17 million for medical care and living expenses throughout her lifetime.

The problems at Madigan surfaced in April following the death of a 6-year- old boy treated for a cut lip in the hospital’s emergency room. Scott Johnson died of a heart attack after being improperly given a ″pain cocktail″ of three sedatives by an unsupervised intern, the Army said.

A Pentagon audit of Madigan last fall criticized the hospital for a shortage of qualified personnel and for inadequate emergency room care. Hospital spokesmen say the problems described in the audit have been corrected.

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