Army To Pay $16M Over Tripler's Botched Infant Delivery

Child Remains Under 24-Hour Care

POSTED: 2:14 pm HST October 19, 2006
UPDATED: 6:57 pm HST October 19, 2006

News PhotoHONOLULU -- A federal judge awarded a couple $16 million, in what is being called the largest personal injury award in state history, when a Tripler Army Hospital doctor made a nearly fatal mistake.

The case went to trial in August. The government had already conceded liability.

Judge David Ezra on Thursday awarded Dwight and Shalay Peterson more than $12 million for life-care expenses for the child.

The remaining $4 million in damages was for pain and suffering.

For 42 minutes after the newborn's birth the medical crew mistakenly gave the Petersons' infant carbon dioxide instead of oxygen.

The baby, Islam, who they call "Izzy," was left in a persistent vegetative state.

Izzy is almost 2. He is being cared for at a military facility in San Antonio.

The family could not get the 24-hour care he needed in Hawaii, their attorney Rick Fried said.

The little boy eats and breathes through a tube and with help from a ventilator.

"He is breathing a little on his own, but he'll never eat normally," Fried said. "One of the things this case will do is to make sure this horrible result doesn't happen again."

The one thing that the court did not decide on is whether to set up what is called a reversionary account. That means in the event the child dies before he turns 27, the money reverts back to the government.