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EMERGENCY ROOM MISTAKES AND MISDIAGNOSIS

Posted on 02 July 2020 by admin (0)

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY CASE STUDIES

Our client was a woman age 34, unmarried, who had a nine-year old child. She went to the ER at the same hospital on four occasions over a seven-week period with complaints of chest pain. The complaints varied somewhat on each visit and the pain was reproducible, according to the records.

The diagnoses on these visits were costochondritis and musculoskeletal pain. EKGs that were done on the first and second visits were normal, but the EKG done on the last visit,  although read as normal by the ER physician, was later read as abnormal by a treating cardiologist and by our experts.  She had a cardiac arrest the next day, witnessed by her son, and suffered irreversible brain damage that has left her in a persistent vegetative state.  She has no conscious awareness and only brain stem function.

The Issues in the case related primarily to negligence. Our experts differed in their views as to which ER physicians were negligent, although all agreed that the physician on the last visit (the day before the cardiac arrest) acted below the standard of care. Another issue related to life expectancy, with experts opining that the client has a statistical life expectancy of only 3-4 years from the time of the arrest. 

A settlement provided for significant  additional care for the mother, as well as a trust for her minor child.

DELAYS AND FAILURES TO DIAGNOSE CANCER

Our client, a 69-year old woman, had a sore spot on the underside of her tongue. She had been seeing her dentist for a number of years for routine dental care, and he first saw the lesion in 2013. The claim was that, although a referral to an oral surgeon was suggested, the defendant dentist did not express particular concern about the lesion.

It was noted in her records over the next several years with notations by hygienists that she had not yet seen the oral surgeon. Her last appointment at the dentist’s office was May 10, 2017. The dentist testified in deposition that he urged his patient on numerous occasions to see a nearby oral surgeon for a biopsy, and she failed to follow his recommendation.

She denied that these conversations occurred, and asserted that, because she is a breast cancer survivor, she would have gone to see the oral surgeon if any mention had been made of a biopsy or possible cancer. The lesion became larger and somewhat painful and, in May 2018, she saw her primary care physician who referred her to an oncologist. Surgery was scheduled in a matter of days, which included lymph node removal. 

She had post-operative problems, which included chronic lymphedema.  She also has a potential loss of life expectancy because the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes because of the delay.

SURGICAL MALPRACTICE

Our client was a 46-year old woman.   She was a commercial truck driver who had a husband and a minor son, age 12.  She presented to her nurse practitioner/primary care provider with a 3 – day history of severe headaches.

She was referred to a neurosurgeon following a CT scan which revealed a benign colloid cyst in her third ventricle.  The defendant neurosurgeon scheduled her for elective endoscopic brain surgery 10 days later. Accounts of the surgery were conflicting, but it was claimed that the neurosurgeon failed to use reasonable care in performing the surgical procedure.  There was a brief power outage in the hospital, but during that time the neurosurgeon advanced the instrument 2 centimeters beyond the midline of the brain causing permanent brain damage and disability.  The settlement with the neurosurgeon and hospital provided for her future care as well as amounts to compensate her husband and son for their losses.