The Greenwich Times reported this week on a new medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a woman who alleges that her husband’s passing was caused, in part, by inadequate medical care that he received in an emergency room. The complained of error is a common one in these suits and also one of the most potential deadly: failure to diagnose.
The article explains that the plaintiff’s husband died two years ago at only forty six years old from a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of one (or both)of the main lung arteries by a substance that has traveled from another part of the body. Most often this is caused by a blog clot that originates in the deep veins of the leg. Each Illinois medical malpractice attorney understands the seriousness of these embolisms and the critical importance of identifying them as soon as possible to avoid life-threatening complications.
In this man’s case he apparently had pulmonary embolisms in both of his legs at the time that he visited the emergency room-10 days before his death. Upon his visit he explained that he was suffering from “flank pain.” The ER staff performed only one test-a CT scan-and then released him the very same day. No other tests were performed to better identify what was causing his pain. It was only nine days later that the man suffered a medical emergency at home that required him to be rushed to a local hospital. He was in critical condition when he arrived. A CT scan performed at that time revealed a pulmonary embolism. He was put in the intensive care unit where he died the next day.
A week and a half after his passing an autopsy revealed that the man’s problems did not develop suddenly. In fact, the pulmonary embolisms had actually been in his lungs for week. Yet, they had not been identified-even after a CT scan apparently taken by emergency room officials only ten days before his death.
Every Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm recognizes that facts like these strongly suggest malpractice on the part of those in the emergency room. As the legal professional representing the widow explains, “They [the ER team] were simply not permitted to discharge without ruling out whether he was suffering from a life-threatening condition. Had they performed the additional testing…he would still be alive.”
The medical malpractice lawsuit that has been filed in the matter is seeking a range of damages. Because the plaintiff in this case was rather young and was the family’s primary breadwinner, a large portion of the damages sought are lost earnings. As many local families know, when an individual in the household is unable to work-form injury, disability, or death-there is immense strain placed on the family. It is only fair and reasonable for those who caused the lost wages to provide redress to ease at least that portion of the family’s suffering. It is important for attorneys to ensure that all of these losses are taken into account as part of the recovery process.
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