Seeking care from those who are trained to properly diagnosis and treat an illness is the normal reaction by those who are suffering from injury or disease. The worry that a doctor or hospital staff may miss important signs and symptoms may be rebuffed by most medical providers. However, as many Pennsylvania families know, even an experienced doctor is capable of a misdiagnosis that can lead to far worse problems than the original complaint.
According to a recent lawsuit that was filed this month, a 43-year-old patient presented himself to a local health clinic with what appeared to be symptoms of influenza. He was prescribed a medication to reduce the severity of the symptoms. A few days after that initial contact, he sought further treatment from the emergency department of a local hospital for the same symptoms, along with new complaints of lower leg pain and rapid heart rate. Physicians purportedly confirmed the influenza diagnosis but also planned a more thorough examination of his lower extremity for the next day.
However, due to a marked increase in his pain, an ambulance was requested and the man was returned to the hospital around 5 a.m. The patient's family reportedly repeatedly inquired as to whether the man was suffering from an infection and if a course of antibiotic treatment was indicated. Doctors denied the presence of an infection, but the man's condition continued to deteriorate and he suffered more than one cardiac arrest that required emergency intervention. Antibiotics were finally started in an attempt to combat sepsis and to help prepare him for transportation to another facility.
The staff at that hospital found that he was suffering from a severe flesh-eating bacterial infection that ultimately led to his death shortly after an emergency procedure to stop the spread of the infection. The man's surviving family have now sued the medical providers that they state are responsible for the misdiagnosis that killed him. Those who are named in the suit have denied wrongdoing and claim the suit is not valid for several reasons. Pennsylvania residents who believe that they or a loved one have suffered further harm from the actions or decisions of medical providers are entitled to file their own civil suit to seek compensation for the monetary damages they may have also sustained.
Source: athensnews.com, "Defendants deny claims in medical malpractice lawsuit", David Dewitt, April 23, 2017