Hospital to pay $755,000 for infection

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 26 (UPI) -- Michigan's Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital was ordered by a judge to pay $755,000 to a woman who developed a flesh-eating bacteria.

Last week, a jury in Grand Rapids awarded Kelly Robinson $755,000 in her lawsuit against the hospital and a physician's assistant there, The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press reported Thursday.


Robinson's attorney, Kevin Lesperance, told the court that on Nov. 15, 2008, the woman went to Spectrum Health seeking treatment for a sore throat. She was given pain medication and told to come back if the symptoms grew worse.

Lesperance said the woman returned to the hospital later that day, complaining that her sore throat became worse. Robinson was sent home again with more painkillers but no antibiotics.

On Nov. 16, 2008, Robinson returned for a third time after her condition became much worse. She was then diagnosed with a bacterial infection, Lesperance said, which progressed from a Group B strep to a flesh-eating bacteria, the newspaper said.

Lesperance questioned the way the situation was handled, saying, "The physician's assistant needs to recognize that something is wrong, get information to a doctor and needs to ask the doctor to see the patient."


After being awarded the $755,000 by the jury, Lesperance said he and Robinson were pleased, but that the trial was about patient safety in general.

"What happened to Kelly knocked this lady off her feet," he said, speaking of her years-long recovery. "Kelly doesn't want this to happen to anybody else."

A spokeswoman for the hospital said Spectrum Health plans to appeal the decision.

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