Two Year Old Has Hands and Feet Amputated After Five-Hour ER Wait

She is probably too young to have any understanding of what happened to her, but little Malyia Jeffers life will never be the same after her long emergency room wait at Methodist Hospital in Sacramento. Her father took her there with a fever and a rash, and was asked to wait to be seen. He waited, and waited, and waited, and after five hours, and his daughter’s dramatic decline in health, he was seen by a physician. By this time it was almost too late.

Malyia’s body began to shut down and went into liver failure. Doctor’s moved her to ICU and quickly learned that she was suffering from a strep infection. They gave the parents a grim choice, amputate her hands and feet or Malaya will die.

“This is the hardest thing I was dreading the most… was having to make a decision,” Malyia’s dad, Ryan Jeffers, told reporters. “They said ‘your daughter’s dying and the only thing we can do to save her is to amputate.”

The little girl was eventually flown to Stanford’s children’s hospital for the amputation surgery, and remains on a ventilator.

Did the delay in treatment cause this terrible outcome? Some reports say the father was demanding that his daughter be seen, and finally had to ambush a nurse. It does seem like an awfully long time for a two year old to be seen. But let’s assume there is negligence on the part of the initial hospital for the long wait. The hospital has very little to worry about liability-wise.

Because of California’s ridiculous cap on non-economic damages, little Malayia’s case for medical negligence cannot be worth $250,000. That’s right, if a jury were to determine that the hospital’s negligence caused the need for the amputations, and the jury gave this little girl $5 million dollars because of the struggles she will no doubt face for the rest of her life, the judge in the case would have no choice but to reduce that verdict to $250,000.

To learn more about the injustices of California’s MICRA law click here (.pdf), or here.

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