» Girl who doesn’t age wins bruising suit against Hopkins  

This post was authored by Brian Nash and posted to The Eye Opener on February 10th, 2010.

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The Daily Record reports a verdict this past Friday, February 5, 2010, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, MD, in favor of the Greenberg family, which brought suit against Johns Hopkins Hospital for bruising she sustained while in the hospital’s care.  The Greenbergs, represented by Bob Weltchek and his son, Nolan, successfully prosecuted a claim that the hospital inappropriately restrained their child following a procedure in 2007; an award of $250,000 in compensatory damages resulted from the jury’s verdict.

The hospital, represented by Steven Hamilton and Karen Turner of Hamilton, Altman, Canale & Dillon in Bethesda, Maryland, has not yet decided whether to take an appeal from the verdict.

As interesting as the verdict may be, of at least equal interest is the history of this child, now 17 years old, and her relationship with Hopkins.

Brooke Greenberg turned 17 last month but looks and acts like a normal infant. She has been the subject of numerous news stories and documentaries, including a TLC special, “Child Frozen in Time.” Scientists continue to study her DNA to learn more about her aging process and in an attempt to explain her condition, as she has never been diagnosed with any type of genetic mutation.

Doctors at Hopkins had cared for Brooke when she experienced health problems early in her life, and she was a familiar face by the time she arrived for surgery March 12, 2007, with her own special crib and swing at the hospital, according to the lawsuit originally filed five months later. No complications from the surgery were reported, Weltchek said.

Howard Greenberg arrived at the hospital the next morning to find his daughter “in an agitated state, sitting unattended in a swing in the hospital corridor,” according to the complaint. Brooke was seen by a family pediatrician, who alerted Hopkins about the bruising, according to the complaint.

Danny Jacobs, the legal affairs writer for The Daily Record, reports in his article:  

The hospital says it followed its policy and reported the bruising to the city’s Child Protective Services, which investigated the matter along with police and the state’s attorney’s office. No evidence of abuse was found.

Nolan Weltchek believes that the verdict in part was influenced by the fact that the child’s attending nurse made a change to the medical record 3 days after the incident, when she noted the bruising for the first time.  There was also photographic evidence of the injury shown to the jury.

Hopkins has issued a statement, which states in part:

“We remain confident that the care this child received at Hopkins was compassionate, caring and appropriate.  Johns Hopkins has cared compassionately for Brooke Greenberg during her multiple hospitalizations at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and her condition is both complex and heartbreaking.”

Jacobs further reports:

The hospital says it followed its policy and reported the bruising to the city’s Child Protective Services, which investigated the matter along with police and the state’s attorney’s office. No evidence of abuse was found. Counts in the lawsuit alleging battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress were dismissed prior to the trial, leaving only a medical malpractice claim.

The Greenbergs severed ties with Hopkins following the March 2007 surgery, Weltchek added. The family now takes Brooke to Sinai Hospital for any medical issues and has given a team of geneticists in North Carolina the rights to study her.

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2 Responses to “» Girl who doesn’t age wins bruising suit against Hopkins  ”

  1. Great article Brian. Your blog provides stories that I read and I can’t help but shake my head in disbelief. This story however, makes me sit better knowing that the family won the case. Did they figure out how she was left with bruising if there was no “evidence”

  2. Brian NashNo Gravatar says:

    Dealing first hand with the people who suffer these tragedies is something you never forget, but I suspect you understand this as well if I understand what it is you do for a living. What always gives me concern (and elation when it works out well) is whether we can do something meaningful for these people so that we lessen (by whatever extent possible) their pain. A negative result (thank goodness not often) is of great concern to me personally since you never want to add to that pain. As always, greatly appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment.

    Brian

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