Yesenia Pacheco, Louis Lemus, and their minor child brought an action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) against the United States alleging negligence on the part of NeighborCare Health Center, a federally qualified community health center…medicalmalpracticelawyers.com, $10M Medical Malpractice Verdict Involving Reproductive Care Affirmed By Federal Appellate Court, Dec 2022
They alleged that in 2009, Pacheco began visiting NeighborCare for birth control services and was placed on a course of Depo-Provera, a highly effective contraceptive that requires administering injections every eleven to thirteen weeks. In
September 2011, Pacheco arrived at NeighborCare for her regularly scheduled Depo-Provera shot.
A NeighborCare employee, however, mistakenly gave Pacheco a flu shot. Pacheco was unaware that she received the wrong shot, and she learned she was pregnant that December. Pacheco gave birth to S.L.P. in August 2012. S.L.P. was born with epilepsy and bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria (“PMG”), a disability that contributes to S.L.P.’s neurological delays and will impose future medical expenses on both S.L.P. and her parents. The plaintiffs subsequently sued the United States for negligence.
The United States appealed to the Federal Appellate Court, contesting only the district court’s award of $10 million in extraordinary damages. The government argued that under Washington law, the federal government could not be held liable forthe unforeseeable harm to plaintiff S.L.P., a minor child, who was born with a rare medical disability.
The Federal Appellate Court stated: “Washington law is now clear, and it forecloses the government’s various arguments that the extraordinary damages awarded here are impermissible as a matter of law.