Miami attorneys Ira H. Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro represent the family of Phoebe Moon who at 9-months old lost both her feet and half of her fingers due to the indefensible medical negligence of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) ship board physicians. Phoebe is now a triple amputee forced to live her life with unimaginable handicaps, limitations and mental trauma reserved for the most damaged in society.
A complaint was filed today against the Miami-headquartered cruise line on behalf of Phoebe and her parents, Aime and Luke Moon, whose nightmare began on the Symphony of the Seas on February 24th. At 8:30 a.m. that morning they took Phoebe to the ship’s infirmary in a panic. Phoebe was pale, lethargic, feverish, tachycardic, dehydrated, and had been vomiting intermittently. Phoebe needed immediate medical attention for exhibiting clear and classic signs of meningococcal meningitis infection.
Dr. Kalander, RCCL’s physician, ignored the marked lethargy and most other symptoms exhibited by the baby. Phoebe was mis-diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis. Phoebe and her parents were told to go back to their room as part of an isolation protocol for the gastroenteritis.
Over the following 16 hours the family brought Phoebe back to the infirmary 4 more times and with each occasion RCCL’s physicians continued to ignore her worsening symptoms, downplayed the parents’ concerns, and continued to deny that she had an infection. Phoebe continued to have worsening lethargy and a dangerously high temperature. When Phoebe began to develop a rash and blotches on her skin, the “highly trained cruise physicians” suggested that Phoebe was simply cold and to just put socks on her.
On the last visit, Phoebe was finally admitted for a “non-urgent visit.” Second shift physician, Dr. Haas finally examined Phoebe and even then she had to be convinced by Phoebe’s grandmother Judith to order antibiotics. Judith and Phoebe’s parents begged for them to give her antibiotics. At first, Dr. Haas declined saying their was “no point” as she was convinced Phoebe did not have an infection. The family pressed Dr. Haas and did not take no for an answer until Phoebe was finally administered Ceftriaxone at 12:28 a.m. – a 16 full hours after Phoebe first presented with all the hallmarks of meningococcal meningitis. 16 hours and 5 visits later Phoebe was finally given the antibiotics that her life and limbs depended on. 16 hours is not only grossly and abhorrently negligent but it borders on criminal culpability.
The law offices of Leesfield Scolaro have litigated many cases of medical malpractice against cruise lines, which includes not only the failure to treat and diagnose passengers, but also the failure to timely evacuate passengers who cannot be treated on board or in a ill-equipped hospitals at various ports of call. This constitutes the most flagrant and horrific case of medical malpractice to date, one that will end in an exemplary verdict against RCCL.
In response, RCCL has filed litigation against the parents in the United Kingdom asking its Courts to rule that the lawsuit should be filed there where RCCL can limit its responsibility to just over $500,000. It is illegal for RCCL to try an limit its financial responsibility for cruise ship passengers injured when the ships depart or call upon the ports of the United States as this one did. The Symphony of the Seas departed from the Port of Miami. However, RCCL inserted in its booking documents language that attempts to circumvent the clear US law prohibiting limiting its financial responsibility. If RCCL is successful in its efforts it would mean a young child will be victimized twice and that a multibillion dollar corporation is above the law. Phoebe will grow up not only without limbs but also without the financial and medical resources to treat her amputations that RCCL unforgivable negligence caused.