We recently discussed the report in the international medical journal, BMJ Quality & Safety which indicated how diagnostic errors were the most common type of medical mistake which led to legal liability. Failure to make a proper diagnosis in a timely manner or missing a diagnosis completely continues to cause untold suffering and even death throughout the country, including here in Illinois.
In fact, our team of Illinois medical malpractice lawyers recently filed a suit on behalf of a man following the death of his 39-year old wife. Her passing was caused by a failure to diagnose her heart condition.
Cynthia Reuter was first admitted to the defendant in the case, Passavant Hospital in Jacksonville, in mid-November of 2011. She had chest pains and was feeling light-headed and so, being careful about her health, she went to the medical facility for help. On that visit a physician in the emergency room diagnosed her with a minor condition before sending her on her way.
The problem only worsened, and the following day she was again feeling strong heart pain. This time she went to Illini Community Hospital. Professionals there quickly knew something serious was wrong, and they immediately scheduled her to be transferred to a major medical center. Sadly, Cynthia passed away on the way to that center. She had an aortic dissection which resulted in fluid build-up that took her life.
IL Med Mal Lawsuit
Obviously the loss of a young woman so quickly was devastating on the family. Seeking answers and accountability, Cynthia’s husband, James sought out the help of our medical malpractice attorneys for legal guidance. Our team filed suit this week in the Circuit Court of Morgan County.
The lawsuit alleges that the medical staff at Passavant failed to properly analyze Cynthia’s heart condition when she first entered the emergency room. As our Attorney Steve Levin explained, “Cynthia had a heart condition which required a routinely performed heart surgery that is overwhelmingly successful in preventing death.”
Yet, because that underlying problem was not correctly diagnosed, the surgery was not performed, leading to her passing. This is a clear example of how failing to follow proper steps to reach a diagnosis can end up with a preventable death.
Eliminating Diagnosis Errors
As these examples continue to illustrate, we have a long way to go before our medical care is consistently provided free of errors or preventable mistakes. That issue is made striking clear by looking at the total number of diagnostic mistakes alone. Reasonable care demands that appropriate steps be followed to understand symptoms, order proper testing, and use reasoned judgment to make conclusions about possible ailments. Failing to follow these steps, making quick judgments, and cutting corners can prove fatal–as shown in this sad case here.
All those throughout Illinois who may have similarly suffered harm because of medical professionals incorrect or delayed diagnosis should seek out the aid of legal professionals to protect their rights. Unfortunately, some professionals and institutions will only act to make system-wide changes that improve care when they are forced to by those harmed by their negligence.
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