Family of Brain-Damaged Boy Gets $9.4 Mill in Lawsuit Against Tripler

KHNL8

Aug 16, 2007 07:10 PM

By Minna Sugimoto

News PhotoHONOLULU (KHNL) -- When he was born, he had a heart defect. Today, three-year-old Parker Kohl suffers from profound mental retardation, is blind, can't eat or breathe on his own, and will likely never walk.

Now, the Oahu hospital that provided care for him must pony up more than $9 million.

Described as a precocious infant, Parker Kohl enjoyed standing up at four months old.

"He has a wonderfully engaging smile," Rick Fried, plaintiff's attorney, said.

But after a stay at Tripler Army Medical Center, life for him will never be the same.

Parker was born with a heart defect. But when he went to the hospital with a respiratory infection in May 2004, his attorney says the medical staff was negligent in treating him.

"They did not take a blood gas, which measures his respiratory status, for a long period of time. They didn't have IVs in place, which they should have," Fried said. "Parker had a cardio-respiratory arrest, and ended up massively brain damaged."

After a three-week civil trial, and a visit to the mainland to see the boy personally, Federal Judge David Ezra awards the Kohls $9.4 million.

"Tripler Army Medical Center respects the decision made by the US District Court," Col. Arthur Wallace, Tripler Army Medical Center, said.

The multi-million dollar award covers Parker's future care, lost wages and mental anguish. For the family, it's bittersweet.

"They aren't holding any grudges against anybody," Fried said. "They just want to do the best they can with their life."

Fried says Parker is expected to live until about 30. Even with his heart defect, Parker was expected to make it to his 50s, and his brain would have been intact.