Navy Hospital Settlements Hit $1 Million This Month; Jacksonville Naval Faced $2.77 Million in Negligence Cases

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Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

In the past month the federal government has agreed to pay $2.77 million to settle three medical negligence claims against Jacksonville Naval Hospital, the Navy said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office negotiated settlements with three separate plaintiffs and has mediation scheduled to attempt to resolve four other negligence lawsuits against the hospital at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The U.S. Attorney's Office represents federal entities when they are sued.

The recent settlements include a $1 million payout, formalized last week, to the parents of a child born permanently disabled at the hospital in 2005. The boy's parents, both Navy seamen, blamed the disabilities on negligence both in the delivery room and in prenatal care given the mother at the hospital's Mayport clinic.

Other settlements were for $950,000 with a man left brain injured after staff at Mayport failed to diagnose viral encephalitis, and $820,000 with a woman who had her right leg amputated after complications from routine knee surgery at the hospital.

"It is my hope that the mediated resolution of the legal aspects of any settlement will enable these patients to recover as fully as possible with the support of their loved ones," said Capt. Bruce Gillingham, the hospital's commanding officer. "We also strive to identify, through a thorough review process, any areas in which we can improve patient care and/or safety as quickly as prudent. …