University To Pay $15 Million To Brain-Injured Girl


Posted on 14th July 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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In one of he largest medical malpractice settlements in the state’s history, the University of Washington (UW) will pay $15 million to the family of a girl who suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) after using a nasal decongestant recommended by the school’s physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, according to the University Herald.

It’s unclear if a judge ordered the award or if it was a settlement, since the $15 million is described both ways in the story. At one point the story said that a  judge in King County Superior Court had ordered the award in the case involving MacKenzie Bryant. Her family filed suit against the hospital and UW.

In another section of the story, the money was described as a settlement.

MacKenzie got a cold, and had blocked nasal passages about four years ago. Dr. Cory Noel, a university cardiology fellow, suggested she take Afrin, despite the fact that the child’s cardiologist, Dr. Yuk Law, had warned that she shouldn’t take the decongestant because of her heart condition, the University Herald reported.

MacKenzie had previously had a  heart transplant.

Law was correct in his warning. MacKenzie had a cardiac arrest not long after her mother gave her the Afrin. As a result of the cardiac arrest, the girl’s brain was deprived of oxygen and she suffered TBI. Now she must have round-the-clock nursing care. She can’t talk, has to get nourishment through a stomach tube, and can’t move.

According to the University Herald, UW apologized for the girl’s brain injury but defended its doctor.

“We believe that the use of Afrin, a commonly used over-the-counter cold remedy, did not lead to MacKenzie’s [cardiac arrest]: However, the judge on this case ruled in favor of the plaintiff and her family,” the university said in a statement.




Cerebral Palsy Boy Recovers With Stem Cell Treatment


Posted on 24th May 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Here is some hopeful news about the treatment of cerebral palsy: Medics have succeeded in treating cerebral palsy with autologous cord blood, which had stem cells.

The case involved a 2½-year-old boy who suffered traumatic brain injury following a cardiac arrest and was in persistent vegetative state, according to a press release issued this week by Catholic Hospital Bochum. The toddler was given a minimal chance of survival.

But just two months after treatment with the cord blood containing stem cells, the child’s symptoms improved significantly. Over the following months, the child learned to speak simple sentences and to move, according to the press release.

“Our findings, along with those from a Korean study, dispel the long-held doubts about the effectiveness of the new therapy,” Dr. Arne Jensen of the Campus Clinic Gynecology said in a statement.

He and his colleague, Dr. Eckard Hamelmann of the Department of Pediatrics at Bochum, reported their findings in the journal.

The boy suffered from his cardiac arrest in November 2008, and was paralyzed. There had been no treatment for the cause of what is known as infantile cerebral palsy.

“In their desperate situation, the parents searched the literature for alternative therapies,” Arne Jensen explains. “They contacted us and asked about the possibilities of using their son’s cord blood, frozen at his birth.”

Nine weeks after the brain damage, Jan. 27, 2009, the doctors administered the prepared blood intravenously.

They studied the progress of recovery at 2, 5, 12, 24, 30, and 40 months after the injury, according to the press release.

Usually, the chances of survival after such a severe brain damage and more than 25 minutes duration of resuscitation are 6 per cent, the release said, adding that months after the TBI, surviving children usually only exhibit minimal signs of consciousness.

“The prognosis for the little patient was threatening if not hopeless,” the Bochum medics said.

But after the cord-blood therapy the boy recovered relatively quickly. Within two months, the spasticity decreased significantly. He was able to see, sit, smile, and to speak simple words again, according to the release.

Forty months after treatment, the child was able to eat independently, walk with assistance, and form four-word sentences.

Of course, on the basis of these results, we cannot clearly say what the cause of the recovery is,” Jensen said. “It is, however, very difficult to explain these remarkable effects by purely symptomatic treatment during active rehabilitation.”

In animal studies, scientists have been researching the therapeutic potential of cord blood for some time. In a previous study with rats, Bochum researchers found that cord blood cells migrate to the damaged area of the brain in large numbers within 24 hours of administration.

In March, in a controlled study of 100 children, Korean doctors reported for the first time that they had successfully treated cerebral palsy with allogeneic cord blood.