A Tragedy Compounded, Yet Overcome

August 25, 2014


Victoria’s story. In 1997, Victoria was born to proud and loving parents Deborah and John Flick. Because of medical negligence during the birth, Victoria was deprived of vital oxygen, which led directly to severe brain damage and her developing cerebral palsy.

Deborah and John loved Victoria with all their heart. The stress of raising a child with special needs only seemed to strengthen their family, and they took extraordinary measures to look after, care for and ensure a sustainable future for their daughter. They, for instance, moved into a new house that was completely wheelchair accessible. And even with their modest means, they scoured the Internet and the country looking for special equipment to make Victoria’s life safer and more comfortable.

Overall, they—and their other daughter—embraced head-on the day-to-day challenges that come while raising a child with cerebral palsy. Their lives settled into a routine, and they learned to cherish the simple victories of everyday life. Like when little Victoria was able to learn to ride a specially equipped bike—something the Flicks thought would never be possible.

Bearing the unbearable. When Victoria was around seven, the Flicks purchased an enclosed bed specifically manufactured and marketed to families with children of special needs. They were told that the bed would keep Victoria safe, as it would prevent her from wandering in the night or falling out of bed.

However, the bed wasn’t safe. It was defective and dangerous. One morning, Deborah went into Victoria’s room but did not see Victoria in the bed. After a frantic search, Victoria was found. She had fallen into an unsafe opening between the side of the bed and the mattress. She had suffocated to death.

Facing the future. The Kolsby Gordon team successfully represented the Flicks during the initial medical malpractice claim arising from Victoria’s birth. We were grateful at the time to be able to help this family secure the resources we all hoped would allow Victoria to live a long, comfortable life despite her challenges.

More than that, the Flicks became part of the extended Kolsby Gordon family, and we all remained in contact even after the successful conclusion of the initial case. We were all devastated to hear the news of Victoria’s passing, and were determined to work with the family to see that the manufacturer was not able to hurt any more children the way they had hurt Victoria.

A second tragedy of this magnitude might have been too much for many families to bear, but the Flicks have not only endured, but actually found a way to provide inspiration and help to others along the way.

With the proceeds of the settlement against the bed manufacturer, the Flicks started the Victoria’s Friends Foundation, a nonprofit that help families with special needs children get the kind of safe, specialized equipment this family knows all-too-well is so necessary.

Deborah and John have always been a true inspiration to our firm. Instead of letting tragedy tear them apart, it motivated them to do good things for others. Please visit Victoria’s Friends Foundation online and consider making a donation.