Jury awards $1.25 million in death of Hibbing boy
A Hibbing doctor had too many patients too close together and too little time to be careful.
That's the opinion of the attorney who convinced a St. Louis County jury that Dr. Kevin G. Krause was negligent in his treatment of 21-month-old Andrew Morrow and that he was directly responsible for the Hibbing boy's death.
The jury awarded more than $1.25 million to Morrow's family after deliberating about 3½ hours Monday night.
Andrew died on Jan. 31, 2008. St. Louis County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Uncini determined that the cause of the boy's death was gangrenous appendicitis with a blood stream infection and shock. His appendix leaked bacteria into his abdomen.
"The family is grateful that the jury found the truth and by their verdict recognized what a wonderful boy Andrew was and what a wonderful man everyone expected him to become," said Terry Wade, the Minneapolis attorney who represented the Morrow family at trial. "Neither this jury nor any jury could give the family what they really wanted: their wonderful son back. Nobody in the courtroom would ever doubt the enormous pain this family suffered every single day."
Neither Krause, who is a specialist in pediatrics working at the Mesaba Clinic in Hibbing, nor his attorney could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Wade said Andrew was misdiagnosed on two occasions over a four-day period, including the day before he died.
He was incorrectly diagnosed with influenza and later with gastroenteritis.
When Krause examined Andrew's abdomen, his father said the boy cried louder than he had ever heard him cry before. Wade said abdominal pain is the most common symptom of appendicitis, but Krause told the boy's father, Deane Morrow, that the boy's appendix was fine. Krause did not take the next required step to conduct either an ultrasound or CT scan to make sure his illness wasn't related to his appendix. Either test would have disclosed the problem with 90 percent or greater probability, Wade said.
Evidence presented at trial established that Krause schedules pediatric patients in 10-minute increments. The diagnosis of influenza was made over the phone and the family was discouraged from bringing Andrew into the clinic to be seen. Wade said the appointment schedule indicated that about 45 children were scheduled to be seen by Krause that day.
On the day that the diagnosis of gastroenteritis was made, Krause was more than an hour behind on his appointments and had a commitment in another community, Wade said. The doctor's examination of Andrew was less than
Dr. William Bonadio,
of Minneapolis, a widely published expert in pediatrics, reviewed the case for the plaintiffs. He concluded that if an appropriate evaluation had been done, the boy's condition would have been diagnosed and treated and that doing so would have prevented his death.
Sixth Judicial District Judge James Florey, who has chambers in the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, presided over the five-day trial in Hibbing. The two judges chambered in Hibbing recused themselves from hearing the case.