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Parents Of Baby In Coma Sue Army Over Medical Mistake

Infant Given Carbon Dioxide Instead Of Oxygen

6:14 am HST July 29, 2005

Sue Hospital

HONOLULU The parents of a baby boy who was mistakenly given carbon dioxide instead of oxygen at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the federal government.

When baby Islam — or Izzy, as his parents call him — was born in January, he was mistakenly given carbon dioxide instead of oxygen for 42 minutes, reported television station KITV in Honolulu.

The baby is blind and has been in a coma since then. He is on feeding and breathing tubes.

Army Sgt. Dwight Peterson and his family left Hawaii on Friday for his newest assignment in Texas. A medical team of military doctors, nurses and therapists accompanied the infant to Texas.

Earlier this year, Izzy’s parents told KITV about the baby’s birth.

“I watched him deteriorate until it was done, until he was finished. There was no more movement, there was no more crying, there was no more nothing,” Peterson said.

“We believe that it’s a miracle in itself that after 42 minutes of being suffocated, that he’s still here,” the child’s mother, Shalay Peterson, said.

The family’s lawyer, Rick Fried, said the Department of Defense issued an alert three months after the accident to try to prevent future mix-ups.

“They now say that you should use piped-in oxygen in the wall instead of these individual tanks,” Fried said.

Tripler released a statement saying, “Our focus has been to support the family in any way we were able. Tripler staff expresses sorrow and deep sympathy regarding the Peterson family situation.”

“He’s never been out of the hospital in his life and will need round-the-clock R.N. care,” Fried said.

Fried said the Peterson family will need $20 million to care for Izzy. He could live into his 40s, Fried said. He said the boy will not be able to earn any income, estimated at $1.5 million in losses.

Fried said he has refused one settlement offer from the government and filed the lawsuit. The Army said it will continue to try to settle the case.