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Jury Awards $17.8 Million Verdict Against Children's Hospital

DENVER (CBS4)- It's believed to be the largest medical malpractice judgment in Colorado history: a jury awarded a family nearly $18 million after a life-changing mistake at Children's Hospital.

The case centers around now 7-year-old Naomi Pressey who was born with a common and treatable heart condition. She was injured in the surgery to fix the issue.

Last week jurors watched a video that documents a day in the life of Naomi. A day of constant care from the moment she wakes up. She needs help eating solid food, the assistance of oxygen tanks and daily injections of medication directly into her abdomen.

"She needs 24/7 supervised care. Every year she will get chronologically older but she will stay intellectually the same as she is now," said Pressey attorney Jim Puga.

Naomi Pressey
Naomi Pressey (credit: Pressey family)

The injuries to Naomi happened when she was only four days old. Pressey was taken to Children's Hospital for surgery to repair a congenital heart defect. Before the procedure hospital staff gave her an improper dose of medication and Naomi went into cardiac arrest in the operating room.

It took 33 minutes to revive her which left her with permanent brain damage.

The malpractice suit accused staff at Children's Hospital of withholding information from the Pressey family. Jurors awarded them $17.8 million.

"Although it seems like a significant damage number, it will be just about enough to take care of her for the rest of her life," said Puga.

Children's Hospital released this statement: "We are sorry that the Pressey family suffered this unfortunate outcome seven years ago with their child. And while we will not comment on the specifics of the recent case, we respectfully believe there are grounds to appeal the outcome."

It's not clear when the Pressey family will receive the full amount of the damages from Children's Hospital. They still need to clear several legal procedures that can limit damages in a lawsuit. The attorneys working for the Pressey family do anticipate the hospital will appeal the ruling.

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