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Family sues over girl thought dead

California in Brief / SANTA ANA

April 22, 2008|From the Associated Press

A medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the family of an Orange County girl who was revived after doctors allegedly declared her dead went to trial Monday.

Mackayla Jespersen was 20 months old when she fell into a swimming pool at her Fullerton home on Nov. 7, 2003. The lawsuit alleges that the girl, now 6, suffered permanent brain damage after doctors at Anaheim Memorial Medical Center wrongly pronounced her dead and disconnected her breathing tube.

More than an hour later, a police detective conducting a routine investigation noticed that her chest was moving and summoned doctors, who were able to revive the child.

Named in the suit, which was filed in Orange County Superior Court, are Anaheim Memorial and Dr. Richard Oxman. Calls to Oxman and hospital officials were not immediately returned Monday.

The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages. The girl's mother, Melissa Jespersen, said she hoped a judge and jury would award enough money to help care of her daughter.

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