Concord girl’s wrongful death suit settled

  • Molly Banzhoff. Courtesy—

  • Molly Banzhoff Courtesy

  • Molly Banzhoff (left) with her mother, Barb Higgins. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 12/29/2018 7:39:38 PM

A wrongful death lawsuit involving 13-year-old Molly Banzhoff has been settled.

Hillsborough County Superior Court records show Concord Hospital settled with the girl’s family in mid-October. She died of complications from an undetected brain tumor in the spring of 2016. The settlement is sealed.

Concord Hospital spokesperson Jennifer Dearborn said in an email that the settlement includes a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement that prohibits both sides from talking about the settlement.

Banzhoff’s mother, incoming school board member Barbara Higgins, and her lawyers did not return requests for comment.

Court documents show the case was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought again. The case included Concord Hospital Inc., Concord Pediatrics, Concord Emergency Medical Associates, Concord Family Health Center, and Capital Regional Health Care Corp.

It appears the three doctors named in the case – Dolly Courtemanche, Elizabeth Hoffman and Ashley Fox – received no disciplinary action from the state’s board of medicine. A board spokesperson said only decisions that involve board discipline are made public.

The decision brings to a close a painful story that shook the Concord community.

For months leading up to her death in early May 2016, Banzhoff’s pediatricians and emergency room doctors did not perform diagnostic brain imaging, even as the young teen repeatedly complained of severe migraines, nausea, problems with her vision and tongue numbness, according to the suit filed by her parents, Higgins and Kenny Banzhoff.

Even after she was admitted to the emergency room on May 1, 2016, doctors at Concord Hospital did not order an emergency CT brain scan until after Banzhoff was unresponsive and had stopped breathing twice, the lawsuit charged.

At that point, the tumor growing in her brain was so large that it caused fluid to build up and massive pressure that “destroyed all neurologic function,” according to the suit.

She was eventually declared brain dead and removed from life support at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

Hundreds of family and friends paid tribute to Banzhoff, attending a community-wide celebration of life and “Molly B: The Musical,” held at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord, which included tributes and performances.

The community was so moved by the death that Concord Hospital requested and was granted a venue change to Hillsborough County Superior Court’s southern division in Nashua.

“Molly was clearly a popular child with deep ties to the community, as evidenced by the overwhelming show of support her family received after her death. Her mother, Plaintiff Barb Higgins, is a well-known figure in the local community,” attorneys for the hospital and its affiliates wrote then.

“These ties, and the media coverage of this case, will prevent the Defendants from having a fair and impartial trial in Merrimack County.”

(Material from Monitor archives were used in this report. Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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