Judge orders US to pay $12M after child burned in surgery

June 19, 2019

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the United States to pay $12 million in damages after doctors at Madigan Army Medical Center caused an operating room fire that badly burned a baby’s face.

The baby, identified only by his initials in court documents, underwent surgery to remove a cyst above his eyebrow in 2015. The anesthesiologist thought the surgeon was going to use a scalpel, and thus administered anesthesia through an oxygen mask. Instead, the surgeon tried to cauterize the cyst, creating a fireball in the elevated oxygen levels.

The government acknowledged that its doctors caused the fire and expressed regret. U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton awarded the boy $9 million and each of his parents $1.5 million.

The boy is now 4 and lives with his mother in southeastern Virginia.

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