Articles Posted in Failure to Monitor Change in Condition

According to the Sacramento Bee, a man recently filed a new medical malpractice lawsuit after having several amputations caused by a spreading infection. The complaint in the suit suggests that a misdiagnosis and failure to timely treat the man’s condition allowed the ailment to progress to the point that the amputations were necessary. Had he receive care up to reasonable standards, he claims, then he would not have lost his limbs.

These sorts of cases are classic examples of the extreme consequences that are often directly related to mistakes made by medical providers.

According to the article the man suffered from a serious (but treable infection) known as MSSA. Medical professionals explain that when caught in time, antibiotics are usually able to deal with the infection and prevent long-term harm. The key, of course, is the timing. When a patient has the infection it is absolutely critical that the doctors identify the problem and ensure antibiotics are given as soon as possible.

The Post-Gazette reported this week on another case of potential medical test reading gone awry. One of the most harmful mistakes that a medical professional can make is giving false assurances about one’s well-being, leading to a delay in proper diagnosis and treatment. Timing matters immensely in so many medical situations, making it important for doctors and nurses to react efficiently and appropriately based on the information in front of them.

Sadly, sometimes that doesn’t happen.

Delayed Diagnosis

Not all medical malpractice cases are straight-forward instances of medical professionals making obvious errors. Sometimes there are far more subtle and unique legal issues at play, often involving the intersection of personal responsibility and prudent medical decision-making. The emotions are always high in these cases.

Take, for example, the tragic story of one recent medical malpractice lawsuit filed following a suicide. The Pilot Online recently published an article on the tragic situation. According to the report, one woman was extremely worried about the health and well-being of her identical twin sister. Her sister, a Navy veteran, had battled depression and mental health issues for some time. Tragically, two years ago on Veterans Day the woman took her own life by taking an enormous quantity of Seroqual–a widely-used antipsychotic drug.

But the story is not as simple as that. The victim’s grieving sister was outraged at the situation, because the woman had tried to take her own life three times before in the previous eight months. She had tried to overdose on the exact same medication on each of those occasions but was unsuccessful. Yet, despite those past three attempts, her doctor at the defendant-VA hospital still gave her a 120-day supply of the drug. That large prescription allowed her to consume enough of the pills at once to kill herself.

It is not exactly unique to hear plaintiffs or medical malpractice lawyers mention that a key goal of a lawsuit is to ensure that things are made better for future patients. These claims are not idle talk. Time and again medical facilities and other care center enact real meaningful changes in the aftermath of a medical error for which they ended up being held civilly liable.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit–They Really Do Make a Difference

Earlier this month the New York Times published a story on just such a case that set a precedent and ultimately forced nation-wide changes that likely preventing many future patients from suffering the consequences of poor medical care.

The Madison-St. Clair Record recently discussed a new medical malpractice lawsuit filed in southern Illinois. The suit involves two doctors from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for their actions that contributed to the death of Sean O’Bonnon. Mr. O’Bonnon rushed to the hospital’s emergency room on Christmas Eve 2008 for severe strep throat.

Besides the strep throat, Mr. O’Bonnon’s body had actually stopped producing cortisol. According to the Mayo Clinic, cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands; insufficient production of it can be life threatening.

However, the two emergency room doctors failed to notice the cortisol-production problem, a condition known as “adrenal crisis.” In fact, the doctors negligently failed to even treat his strep throat, take a proper medical history, or admit him to the hospital for further observation. Instead, Mr. O’Bonnon was sent home, where he died the following day, Christmas Day 2010.

A medical malpractice case involving the tragic death of three year old twin brothers recently ended with a verdict for the plaintiffs, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

The terrible trauma that still haunts the Legge family occurred in April 2006, when two of the family’s twin boys visited a Maryland otolaryngologist to perform basic tonsillectomies. The procedures were supposed to be routine operations without too much risk. In fact, hundreds of thousands of these procedures occur every year across the country without any complications. Following the surgery the doctor discharged the brothers with a note indicating that everything was normal. The boys, A.J. and Joshua were prescribed pain medication and were home in the afternoon.

However, the very night that they arrived back home following the surgery, one of the twins, A.J., stopped breathing. Shortly after midnight his parents called 911, and an ambulance arrived to rush him to the hospital. The emergency room doctors did everything that they could, but A.J. died shortly after arriving.

A Chicago man is suing a St. Petersburg surgeon for medical malpractice after the death of his wife following emergency surgery last summer, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Dr. Sukunya Susie Dunphy was a 42 year old medical doctor in Chicago. While in Florida she was rushed to the hospital after experiencing abdominal pain. It was determined that she had an inflamed appendix and that evening the surgeon performed a laparoscopic appendectomy to surgically remove the appendix.

Hours after the surgery, Dr. Dunphy’s heart rate began to climb while her blood pressure dropped. Unfortunately, the medical staff at the Palms of Pasadena hospital where she received her care failed to properly note the changes. In fact, Dr. Dunphy herself told the hospital’s nursing staff that as a medical doctor she knew her blood pressure was too low and that steps should be taken to notify the doctors to provide better care. The nursing staff did not inform doctors of the situation, however. Instead they actually wrote in her chart that Dr. Dunphy was engaging in “attention seeking behavior.”

The Herald Online is reporting that a jury has found that both a hospital and the doctor were medically negligent in the wrongful death of a patient. The jury awarded the medical malpractice victim a $3 million verdict and ruled that the hospital bore the bulk of the responsibility. The jury did believe that the patient’s husband was partly negligent in his actions. The patient’s initially sued the hospital and doctor after his wife died. after she had gone to the emergency room at the hospital with both stomach and lower back pain and the doctors diagnosed her with a kidney stone. The medical malpractice victim stayed at the hospital for about four hours until the doctors sent her home. They had given her a prescription for pain medication and an appointment in two days.

The victim endured a seizure and went into septic shock before she was ever able to make it to her appointment. She died approximately 48 hours after she left the hospital. Her husband’s malpractice attorneys argued that the hospital committed medical error in the victim’s treatment. The hospital did not follow the nationally recognized standards of care that are in place to ensure patient safety. The hospital did not run all of the necessary tests, nor did they take the victim’s temperature into account. It is imperative that hospitals perform all necessary tests in order to make an accurate diagnosis. This hospital had specific guidelines stating that patients must have their vital signs checked at the minimum of twice during an emergency room visit.

Additionally, it is important to note that a fever is a key sign of a problem when diagnosing kidney stones. A medical expert testified that if a patient with kidney stones presents a fever, the doctors should treat it as a medical emergency. Failure to properly diagnose is a common medical mistake that can be avoided if doctors carefully check a patient’s vital signs. To learn more about this medical mistake, please check out the link.

The Madison St. Clair Record is reporting that a woman sustained severe and debilitating injuries after a doctor did not attend to her spinal condition in a timely fashion. The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in Madison County Circuit Court in Illinois. The woman claims that she went to the doctor on October 8, 2009 to receive a physical examination. At this visit, the doctor ordered an MRI of the woman’s lumbar spine. This MRI revealed that the victim was suffering from cauda equine syndrome. This is a syndrome that will cause a significant narrowing of the spinal canal that will compress nerve roots. If this is not treated, it can lead to a permanent loss of bowel and bladder control. It may also lead to paralysis of the legs.

After the doctor learned of this woman’s condition, he negligently failed to admit the victim in to the hospital in a timely fashion. The medical malpractice lawsuit also claims that he failed to conduct spinal surgery in a timely fashion thereby failing to treat her cauda equine syndrome quickly enough. Finally, the medical malpractice lawsuit claims that the doctor should have ordered the MRI on an emergent basis. The medical malpractice lawsuit seeks a judgment of more than $50,000. To read more about this medical error, please check out the link.

Failure to treat a medical condition in a timely manner is a common medical malpractice claim. If a doctor or a healthcare provider delays either your diagnosis or your treatment, he is putting your health at a great risk. A once treatable condition can now escalade into a serious condition. That is why it is imperative that all x-rays and test results are completed in a timely fashion. If you believe that your healthcare provider has committed a medical error by delaying your treatment, please consult a Chicago injury lawyer.

The New York Times has reported that an Arena Football League player filed a medical malpractice lawsuit claiming that a team doctor has misdiagnosed his concussion two years ago. This medical error has resulted in a permanent injury for the football player. This is the first medical malpractice lawsuit filed that speaks to the malpractice associated with concussion care in football. The player was a kicker for the A.F.L. in 2008 when he sustained a series of hits to the head over several games. The medical malpractice lawsuit claims that the team physician treated him only for a headache and “failed to properly evaluate and observe” his condition before clearing him to play.

This lawsuit is not the first in a series of brain injury lawsuits filed by football players. In November of last year, La Salle University settled a lawsuit in the amount of $7.5 million filed by a player severely injured by a concussion that he claimed had been mistreated by university medical staff. Also in 2000, Chicago Bear player Merril Hoge received a $1.55 million jury verdict in a brain injury case against the team’s physician Dr. John Munsell. Once again, it was alleged that the team’s physician medical error led to a more serious brain injury. Brain injuries in sports have been a closely watched topic. Professional sports doctors must be extremely cautious when clearing players to participate in any type of physical activity. To read more about the current medical malpractice lawsuit, please click the link.

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