Miami Doctor’s Negligence Costs Government $33.8 million
A normal pregnancy turned high-risk after Dr. Ata Atogho made several life-altering mistakes during the 90 minute delivery of a little boy. Dr. Atogho walked away from his mother’s room for long periods of time including once for an eight-minute phone call from his stockbroker. Dr. Atogho failed to perform a necessary Cesarean section and negligently ordered nurses to restart pitocin to strengthen contractions. By the time Marla Dixon delivered her son on December 2, 2013, her baby was blue in the face with limp limbs. The tragic outcome for Marla Dixon and her permanently brain damaged baby resulted in a $33.8 million malpractice judgment.
Accoridng to lawsuit documents, it took a medical team to revive baby EJ, but he had already suffered severe brain damage from lack of oxygen. Dr. Atogho blamed Dixon for not pushing hard enough. He also falsified the 19-year old mother’s medical records with a note that made it appear she had refused a C-section, per the testimony of the nurse in charge of delivery. For Dixon, the money will help cover a lifetime of round-the-clock care for her son.
After filing her suit against Atogho, Dixon discovered that Atogho had delivered two babies that same year with permanent brain damage and a third who is disabled for life per suits filed by the injured infants’ mothers. All were teen-aged and received care at Jessie Trice, a government funded Community Health Center that serves Miami’s low-income and uninsured residents. All delivered their babies at North Shore Medical Center where Atogho was their on-call obstetrician.
One of the mothers accused Atogho of rushing to deliver her baby and using a vacuum, that disfigured her daughter in September 2013 with permanent damage to her nerves in her shoulder and neck. Another case that has not yet gone to trial, involves a baby delivered in May 2013 where the mother states that Atogho ignored signs that her baby was in distress and waited too long to perform an emergency C-section causing permanent brain damage to her daughter.
Marla Dixon only met Atogho once before he arrived to deliver her baby. EJ, now three, went home after two months but has been hospitalized about 30 times since then. He cannot speak, or sit up without falling over and has scoliosis and cerebral palsy which he takes dozens of medications for every day. Dr. Atogho has not faced disciplinary action and his state medical license remains unblemished. In each of the three cases involving Atogho, the defendant was the United States, which is liable under federal law for injuries caused by its medical employees. Making it so that his physician profile maintained by the Florida Department of Health fails to inform patients of his past, saying that his license is “clear and active”.