Parents of a 12-year-old boy who suffered brain damage from a flesh-eating bacteria won a $7.8 million jury award against a hospital.

Jonathan Reynolds was taken to Dyersburg Regional Medical Center in 2004 after he cut his knee when he fell on an exposed nail head while playing laser tag at an amusement park. Doctors discharged the boy the same day, but two days later he returned complaining of excruciating pain, redness, and swelling moving up his leg.

It wasn’t until three days later that a new doctor realized Reynolds had a flesh-eating bacteria. By that time, according to his parents’ lawsuit, it was too late. Most of the skin from his knee to his groin had decomposed and required extensive skin grafts. He also fell into a coma and suffered from seizures that caused permanent brain damage.

According to the family’s lawsuit, the doctors failed to treat the cut properly because they didn’t give the boy antibiotics, and then failed to diagnose the flesh-eating bacteria.

This was the second time the case went to trial. The first trial ended in a mistrial in 2007. This time, although the jury issued its award, the doctors settled before trial, and the hospital settled in the middle of the trial.

The jury finished its work and decided that the family should receive $7.8 million, and found the owner of the amusement park, which is no longer in business, 13 percent responsible for the injury. While the jury would have put 20 percent of the blame on each of the two doctors who treated Reynolds and made the hospital liable for 47 percent, the actual amounts agreed upon in the settlement are confidential.

By: Sylvia Hsieh

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