TACOMA, Wash. - A federal judge has ordered the United States to pay $12 million in damages after doctors at Madigan Army Medical Center, located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, caused an operating room fire that badly burned a baby's face.
The baby, identified only by his initials in court documents, underwent surgery to remove a cyst above his eyebrow in 2015.
The anesthesiologist thought the surgeon was going to use a scalpel, and thus administered anesthesia through an oxygen mask.
Instead, the surgeon tried to cauterize the cyst, creating a fireball in the elevated oxygen levels.
The government acknowledged that its doctors caused the fire and expressed regret. U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton awarded the boy $9 million and each of his parents $1.5 million.
The boy is now 4 and lives with his mother in southeastern Virginia.
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