Orlando Sentinel, Published March 28 2012
Teen mom sues hospital after nurse slices off baby's pinkyORLANDO, Calif. - Eight-month old Selena Olguin had 10 fingers when she arrived at a Florida hospital.
But she left with nine.
After spending three days at Heart of Florida Hospital in Polk County with an upper-respiratory infection, the giggly, almond-eyed infant was ready to go home.
But screams and blood shot out in all directions when a nurse used scissors to snip off the tape and bandage wrapped around the child's hand as she sat on her 15-year-old mother's lap.
“Her finger, her finger,” mother Veronica Olguin of Haines City said Wednesday, recalling the horror of that day in October.
“She didn't have her pinky there anymore.”
The top half of the digit had dropped to the floor.
The nurse, Emily Anna Stutz, panicked and ran out the room to get doctors, Veronica said.
“I'm so sorry,” the nurse told the mother, according to Veronica. “I have children, too.”
They airlifted the baby from the Davenport-area hospital to a hand surgeon at a Tampa hospital, but the finger's veins and nerve endings were too tiny to reattach. She lost the pinky. Her stub was bandaged.
For the next two weeks, the infant shattered her sleep with shrieks of pain at night, Veronica said.
“She was born perfect, now she is deformed,” said grandmother Olga Perez, adding she arrived at the hospital in a rage and was calmed down by hospital staff who promised to compensate them. “I kept asking ‘Who did this?’ and wanted to hurt the woman. I even called police.”
So far, the family hasn't seen a penny. They have filed a lawsuit against the hospital and nurse, seeking damages of more than $15,000, Orlando attorney Lou Pendas said during a news conference Wednesday.
“This is something that should've been a very simple process,” he said, without specifying how much the family wanted. “It is difficult to put a dollar amount on this.”
Pendas said Selena could suffer future emotional and physical disability because of her lost finger.
The hospital said in a statement the incident was an “unfortunate accident,” and that they made contact with the family.
“We deeply regret the harm to the child and want to express our compassion and concern for her and her family. We reached out right away to the child's family and their attorney, but have not been able to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.”
Attorney Richards Ford, who is representing the hospital, said they have “looked at this thing very, very closely,” by investigating the nurse involved, who is still employed.
“We have tried our best to resolve this,” he said.
But Pendas said after an initial meeting, the hospital has not responded to their offers.
Veronica said her family has suffered tremendously from the accident but her daughter has recovered cheerfully.
“She is doing what a normal baby does,” she said. “I hope it keeps that way.”