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13-Month-Old Child’s Estate Receives $750,000 Settlement from United States of America (Cherry Street Health) for Medical Malpractice Resulting in Preventable Death

Buchanan & Buchanan, P.L.C.
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: The Estate of Annabelle Black v. United States of America

Case No: 1:18-cv-35, United States District Court, Western District of Michigan

On February 13, 2019, the estate of a young girl and the United States of America settled this wrongful-death, medical-negligence case for $750,000.  The federal court case involves a federally-employed physician assistant mismanaging known croup for a 13-month-old Greenville, Michigan girl.  The physician assistant denied prompt medical care. A few hours after the clinic visit, the untreated child stopped breathing, sustaining severe brain injury.  She died from the brain injury damage several days later.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan approved the $750,000 settlement.  Attorney Robert Buchanan of Buchanan & Buchanan represented the child’s estate in the lawsuit.

The girl, Annabelle Black, was a happy, healthy, and energetic girl before the medical malpractice. On January 8, 2016, her mother brought her to Marguerite Sowers PA of the Cherry Health Clinic in Greenville for breathing problems. The girl had noisy and fast breathing, a “barking” and “croupy” cough, when she inhaled the skin of her neck sucked inward with every breath, she had a high fever, and was “tired all the time.” These are classic symptoms of moderate to severe croup, requiring immediate attention.

Sowers knew an urgent care center had seen the girl the day before for the problems, and that mom brought the girl in to the family medicine clinic for worsening symptoms.  Sowers correctly diagnosed the problem, croup: a disorder that can narrow the breathing airway.

The known danger of untreated croup is that an infant’s breathing can stop.  Patient safety required the family medicine clinic to immediately give fast-acting steroid medicine to reduce airway swelling and closely watch the toddler in the medical office for at least 4 hours. Instead, Sowers gave no medicine to Annabelle in the office and told the mother to take her home. Three hours later, at home and untreated, Annabelle wore out after inhaling down a narrowed airway and stopped breathing. A 911 rescue team resuscitated the girl and put her on a mechanical breathing machine.  Unfortunately, severe brain injury had occurred after she stopped breathing. The hospital kept her alive on the machine for five more days before she died from the brain injury.

This delightful little girl died because the healthcare providers didn’t take the time to give proper care,” Buchanan said.  “The physician assistant didn’t even bother to look up how to treat the toddler’s dangerous condition.  Steroid medication and medical observation for a few hours would have prevented any injury.  Sowers could have sent the girl to the emergency department if she didn’t have time to take care of the girl or didn’t know what to do.”

For further information, contact Buchanan & Buchanan at 616-458-2464.


About Buchanan & Buchanan, PLC

Buchanan & Buchanan is a personal injury law firm representing people, not insurance companies. Buchanan & Buchanan has a well-earned reputation for high quality representation of people catastrophically injured by the misconduct of others. Unlike other law firms, Buchanan & Buchanan employs experienced medical professionals as members of the team. They work closely with clients and attorneys, from the initial interview through settlement or trial, overseeing medical issues, advising on strategy, and selecting top-notch medical experts critical to an excellent outcome. Selecting only excellent cases and preparing them with a team of talented professionals has made Buchanan & Buchanan one of the Midwest’s best medical malpractice and catastrophic injury firms.

Buchanan & Buchanan, PLC is a member of the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.


Contact Information:
Robert J. Buchanan
Buchanan & Buchanan, PLC
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The general information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

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