Diagnosis mistakes are some of the most commonly made errors by medical professionals. They can also be deadly, because failing to receive timely treatment can lead to any number of complications for a patient that would otherwise have been prevented. Obviously when this happens it may be an example of medical malpractice leading to a lawsuit.
That is what happened in one case recently discussed by the Mountain Eagle. The story describes how a 27-year old man went into the hospital in 2005 after falling in his house. While at the facility a CT was performed on his head before he was discharged. About a week and a half later, however, he was back at the hospital with neck pain. Both of the young man’s hands were also showing signs of numbness. An X-ray was taken, but there were no MRI or reflex test performed. Those lapses would prove costly.
The man was discharged again, but his problems only compounded. Eventually, about a month later, he was found nearly paralyzed by his mother. It was only then that massive disc herniation on his spinal cord was discovered. The delay in identifying the problem left the man partially paralyzed. He is now confined to a wheelchair and cannot live alone.
Med Mal Lawsuit
The family ultimately filed a medical malpractice suit seeking accountability from the medical professionals who did not identify the problem earlier on. At trial the attorney for the family explained how neck pain and numbness in the hands are clear signs of potential spinal cord impingement. They should have raised an obvious alarm bell for doctors to fully investigate the possibility of impingement.
However, only an X-ray was performed which is only able to detect bone abnormalities. It would not reveal spinal cord impingement. Failing to fully perform the necessary tests led to a costly delay in diagnosing the problem, the legal professional argued.
This case eventually went to trial. Last week the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $3.5 million. The significant sum is likely attributable to the significant costs that will now be required to ensure the man has proper care for the rest of his life.
It is unclear how the defense team will proceed. Often, in cases where a jury returns a large verdict, the defense appeals. However, an appeal cannot be based merely on a dislike for a jury decision. Instead appeals require legal or procedural problems with the trial itself that demand a reversal or re-trial–that is often not an easier bar to meet.
Chicago Med Mal Attorneys
If you or someone you know may have been harmed by a missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis like the one described in this case, please get in touch with our legal team to see how we can help. Our lawyers are proud to help local residents who have not received proper medical care. Nothing can turn back the clock, but accountability is crucial to ensure those affected are properly cared for and caregivers are incentivized to make change to prevent future harm.
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