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Lawsuit over baby’s death at Tripler settled for $1.3M

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The U.S. government will pay $1.3 million to the family of a baby who died at Trip­ler Army Medical Center, according to a settlement announced Monday in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Rachael Reynolds’ parents sued the government after the 4-month-old died three years ago at the hospital. The baby was taken to the emergency room Oct. 18, 2012, after several days of labored breathing and an upper respiratory infection, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, the hospital’s negligence included an oxygen mask that didn’t fit properly on the infant’s face.

Rachael’s parents took her off life support after being told she had severe and likely irreversible brain damage. She died in her parents’ arms on Oct. 22, 2012, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleges the child suffered "great physical pain, suffering, discomfort, emotional injuries and distress" because of the hospital’s actions.

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry Yee said the government admits no liability or fault by settling. A hospital spokes­man deferred comment to the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency, which didn’t immediately respond to a phone message left after business hours on the East Coast.

The settlement amount is still subject to final approval by the Justice Department. The lawsuit, filed last year in federal court in Hono­lulu, was scheduled to go to trial in October.

Richard Fried, the Hono­lulu attorney representing the family, declined to comment until the settlement is approved and finalized.

Medical malpractice settlements are often confi­dential, except when a government institution, such as Tripler Army Medical Center, is involved.

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