The Washington Post reported today this week on the end of a medical malpractice lawsuit that resulted in a significant verdict for an oil-field worker. According to reports, the work was an employees of a large energy company and was driving a company truck three years ago when the vehicle slipped on an icy road, left the pavement, and rolled several times before landing upside down. The man was taken to a local hospital where he complained of neck and should pain. He made his symptoms clear to the emergency personnel who were transporting him to the nearby hospital.
Of course, when a patient complains of specific pain, then it is logical for the medical expert to conduct the proper diagnostic tests to uncover the exact source of the problem. In many cases, as here, that tests involves x-rays of the entire area. Thoroughness is vital, because failure to examine any area that may be related to the harm could led to missing important information about the patients’ condition. In this case, the emergency room doctor ordered tests of the man’s head, face, and thoracic spine. However, he glaringly forgot to order an x-ray of the neck. It is unclear if the oversight was a technical glitch or simply a quick diagnostic mistake on the part of the doctor. In any event the failure to act appropriately ended up having significant consequences for the victim.
Not seeing any problem in the x-rays of the areas that were examined, the car oil worker was discharged from the hospital that same day. However, only a few days later the man awoke with extreme pain in his neck and shoulder. He also has significant weakness in his left arm. That same day he was rushed to the emergency room where tests revealed he had a broken neck. He was forced to undergo emergency surgery, but the emergency actions were insufficient to repair the nerve damage that had already occurred. He now has chronic neck pain and limited movement in his left arm. All of the damage would likely have been prevented had the broken neck been spotted by doctors on the day of the car accident.
The man and his wife filed a medical malpractice lawsuit after the incident alleging that his injuries would have been prevented had he received the basic level of medical care to which he was entitled. After hearing all of the evidence in the case, the jury returned in favor for worker and his wife. They found that the doctor and hospital were negligent in failing to perform even a basic diagnostic test which would have spared the victim and his family significant harm.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers are proud to help those in similar situations. We are used to the criticisms that those in this area of the law often receive. However, most community members continue to understand that basic fairness demands that these medical malpractice victims receive the resources they need to pay for the tremendous costs they incur due to the negligence of others.
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