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Nurse snipped off baby's finger in Polk County hospital

When babies are born, parents want to know that the baby is healthy and has "10 fingers and 10 toes" when they leave the hospital. When negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse or hospital affects this, it may be appropriate to file a medical malpractice claim.

Recently, a Florida mother and her baby were just about to be discharged from Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center after the baby girl had been treated for a fever. The girl had an intravenous tube inserted into her arm, and as they were ready to check out and go home, a nurse had to remove the tube.

Instead of cutting through the plastic tube, though, a nurse cut the baby girl's pinky finger off. Doctors could not reattach the severed finger because of how tiny the nerves and veins were.

The mother of the little girl was shocked as her baby wailed out in pain. She is suing the hospital and the nurse for failing to follow safety procedures. The claim states that the nurse should have been supervised during the procedure and that she improperly removed the intravenous tube with scissors.

The hospital released a statement saying, more or less, that the situation was an unfortunate accident and the nurse was not punished. However, the mother feels that the mistake should not have to happen again to someone else's baby and she is seeking $15,000 for damages. The claim was filed after the two sides apparently failed to reach an appropriate settlement outside of court.

When the negligence or mistakes of a doctor or nurse have permanent effects on patients or their families, as is the case here, there should be appropriate consequences. Even though a lawsuit cannot undo the damage of a medical error, it can help others by preventing the same mistake from happening again.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Polk mom's lawsuit: Nurse cut off baby's pinky," Ray Reyes, March 27, 2012

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