Articles Posted in Misdiagnosis

L&P - Breast Cancer Month

What If A Doctor Failed to Diagnose Your Breast Cancer?

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers estimate that medical error, including failure to diagnose, is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. And in many cases, medical conditions such as breast cancer are treatable when caught early but failing to diagnose or treat can often lead to further injury or death. With today’s greater awareness of one of the biggest killers to American women, as well as technological and diagnostic advancements, doctors should be able to detect breast cancer based on symptoms, standard age-based tests, or readily available screening methods. In many types of breast cancers, an early and correct diagnosis can make a significant difference in prognosis.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, some of the more common breast cancer diagnoses include:

“Safety advocates said that without access to public data, it has been too easy for hospitals to excuse poor outcomes by blaming mothers’ health problems.”

-USA Today

Hospitals Blame Mothers When Things Go Wrong

“To know that this happens is our country, that’s unacceptable.” 

-Sue Sheridan, patient safety advocate, in To Err Is Human

The medical malpractice attorneys of Levin & Perconti recently watched To Err Is Human, a newly released documentary showing the frequency and impact of medical errors upon American families. To see the facts relating to the frequency and severity of medical errors combined with the heart wrenching story of a family forever changed by these mistakes has left a lasting impression on all of us.

medical malpractice lawsuit

History of Common Malpractice Errors May Be Unknown to Patients

A recent investigation led by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA Today and MedPage Today found that even when surrendering a medical license because of unprofessional conduct such as sexual assault, medical malpractice or prescription abuse, physicians simply leave their bad history in one state and move their practice to another while continuing to make deadly mistakes as risky medical experts. Equally disturbing is that if a physician voluntarily surrenders his license, the public may not ever be able to access or gain knowledge about why the surrender occurred. Although the National Practitioner Data Bank has more than 1.3 million records of “adverse actions” going back to 1990, files can only be accessed by hospitals, insurers, and state medical boards. Individual states can file a complaint, but only if prompted to inquire of a physician offender’s harmful patient history.

Additional investigative findings published in December 2018 from the news organizations included:

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group dedicated to hospital safety, has released their biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report, showing an overall improvement in Illinois hospitals since the spring. According to Leapfrog, the survey measures hospital patient safety by the number of “errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.” Participation by hospitals is optional and this fall, 110 Illinois hospitals agreed to take part. According to the data collected, Leapfrog rated Illinois hospitals as #13 overall, an improvement from #15 this past spring.

In a time where the increasing problem of medical errors is finally being given the platform it deserves, the survey is more relevant now than ever. The Leapfrog Group, citing an often quoted 2016 Johns Hopkins study, notes that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patient safety and healthcare provider accountability is essential for all hospitals and healthcare organizations. Below is our analysis of the Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report for participating Illinois hospitals.


Illinois & Metro Chicago Hospital Results

The Center for Justice and Democracy (CJ&D), a consumer rights group out of New York Law School, has shared their list of 22 famous figures who have been harmed and even killed by medical malpractice.

Most of us are familiar with the high profile drug-related tragedies of Michael Jackson (2009) and Prince (2016) and even Judy Garland (1969) and Marilyn Monroe (1962). Some of us are familiar with the details surrounding the death of comedian Joan Rivers in 2014 during an endoscopy at a New York City clinic.  But it was surprising even to us to read the details of medical neglect in cases involving other beloved celebrities. As CJ&D pointed out in their report, no one is exempt from medical negligence or malpractice, not even celebrities with all the money and resources in the world at their fingertips. The report also shared several findings that now have become well known to the public. Among them, that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in this country.

Each of the 22 cases highlighted in the report has resulted in a settlement or verdict (or is pending) and in many of them, grieving loved ones or the victims themselves have said that it’s not about money, but instead about enforcing a sense of right vs. wrong in the face of injustice.

The Center for Justice & Democracy, a consumer rights advocacy group out of New York Law School, has compiled a review of medical malpractice incidents and has publicly shared their findings. Entitled “Medical Malpractice: By the Numbers,” the briefing examines recent medical studies and investigations of both inpatient and outpatient groups and facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and hospice organizations.

The data brings deficiencies in medical care into the spotlight, specifically the care Americans receive within hospitals. Below is a summary of information from the report our medical malpractice attorneys think is particularly informative and worth sharing. All data sources can be found in the CJ&D briefing. We have included the page number of the report that contains the source for each statistic.

HOSPITALS:

Eye care is something that must be taken very seriously. When we have a vision problem we trust that our doctor will properly diagnose and treat our condition. Sometimes, however, that does not happen. In a recent case a man filed a lawsuit citing medical negligence after the misdiagnosis of his eye condition led to his personal injury. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County against the doctor as well as Retinal-Vitreal Consultants, LTD and Mercy Hospital and Medical Center seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

Serious Misdiagnosis
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When we go to the hospital we trust that the doctors will do whatever is necessary to properly diagnose and treat our medical problems. Yet that is not always the case. In a report from the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical mistakes account for more than 1,000 deaths a year in the United States. Additionally, mistakes are responsible for injuries to thousands of people annually. The family of a woman who died as a result of alleged negligence has filed a lawsuit in Cook County. The lawsuit states that a hospital, doctor, nurse, and others are responsible for the wrong diagnosis, which led to the woman’s death.
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Our medical care is in the hands of our doctors, whom we trust will always provide us with the best possible treatment. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong it is cause for concern and may even be harmful. A woman recently filed a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice by a doctor at Pro Care Medical Center. The lawsuit states that the woman had a CT scan done but the doctor misread it and failed to diagnose her stroke. This delayed the treatment, which caused further medical harm and left her with permanent injuries. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $50,000.

Stroke Symptoms in Women

There are typically five warning signs of a stroke that include sudden numbness in the arm or face, sudden confusion, dizziness, difficulty speaking, and severe headache. In women, however, there are other symptoms that are sometimes overlooked as indications of a stroke. These include fainting, seizures, pain, and problems breathing. Doctors must evaluate all of the complaints of a patient as well as review test results including CT scans in order to make a correct diagnosis. Many of the stroke symptoms of women are either ignored or misdiagnosed, leading to lack of proper treatment. In this case, the woman had a CT scan completed, yet the doctor failed to make a proper diagnosis.
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