by: Francis Linn and Christina Randall
A Taney County jury recently awarded nearly $3.2 million in damages to the family of a baby that was misdiagnosed and died three hours after visiting an urgent care clinic.
“This is a daily hell that I live, because somebody didn’t take the time to do their job,” said Kassie Mcatee, mother of Kyler George.
According to a press release, one-year-old Kyler George and his mother Kassie McAtee visited the Urgent Care at CoxHealth Hospital Branson on June 5, 2017.
When Kyler arrived at the clinic, he was pale and lethargic and he was diagnosed with having an ear infection. Kyler was sent home and died three hours later.
“The physicians assistant, I guess, did what he felt was adaquate work, but he never physically laid hands on my son,” said Mcatee. “I held my son the whole time, he didn’t feel well. He looked in his ear and said ‘Well, it’s slightly red, he has a slight ear infection’ prescribed me amoxicillin and sent me on my way.”
A few months before the misdiagnosis, Kyler was brought into a primary care clinic operated by CoxHealth for a prolonged fever, which is a symptom of Kawasaki’s disease. A nurse practitioner misdiagnosed Kyler with pneumonia and he was sent home.
According to the autopsy, Kyler had acute heart failure from a clot in a giant coronary artery aneurism which is what caused his death. Kawasaki’s disease causes inflammation of the blood vessels in children and infants.
About a year later Mcatee started thinking about possibly filing a lawsuit.
“I was like, this isn’t right, something’s not right, you don’t take a baby to urgent car, and then three hours later after he’s diagnosed iwth a slight ear infection, that baby doesn’t die, that’s just not what happens.”
Mcatee says she had to relive the toughest moments of her life in court.
“Me pursuing this case was never about a financial gain,” said Mcatee. “My pursuing this case was about accountablilty.”
Although the jury awarded the family over $3 million because of a Missouri law that puts a fixed hard cap on medical malpractice damages.
Mcatee says she understands the cap but doesn’t necessarily agree with it.
“The way it was described to me, basically due to state law a hospital is better to kill your child than they are to injure them, there’s no cap in the state of Missouri on an injury lawsuit,” said Mcatee.
CoxHealth released the following statement with KOLR10:
“We cannot comment on litigation in detail due to patient privacy restrictions. However, we can share that after a thorough review, we believe the care given in this situation was appropriate. This belief is also supported by external experts in the field. While we support our judicial system, we do not agree with this decision. That does not change the tragic reality, and our sympathies remain with the family during this time.”
The verdict comes on the heels of another recent decision, where a Greene County jury awarded $34 million in a birth injury suit against CoxHealth in March of this year.