Trial to start over alleged misdiagnosis of meningitis

Monday March 4, 2013

Medical malpractice is a serious issue that plagues our country. As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, thousands of medical errors occur every year, putting patients in New Haven and elsewhere in serious danger of getting injured or suffering from a hospital-acquired infection. When a hospital or doctor causes an injury directly or by failing to diagnose a patient’s condition, they can be held responsible.

In a recent example, one mother has chosen to hold a doctor accountable for failing to diagnose her daughter with viral meningitis, which causes brain tissue to become inflamed and can result in brain damage and even death. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the doctor failed to perform the proper tests despite the fact that she suspected the girl had meningitis.

According to the mother, the girl’s regular doctor was out of the office, so another doctor filled in. This doctor had completed her residency less than three weeks before treating the girl. The girl was experiencing symptoms that the mother found concerning, but the doctor sent her home with allergy medication. The mother said she requested other tests, but the doctor said there was no reason to do them. Unfortunately, it seems that she was wrong.

Two days after seeing the doctor, the girl slipped into a coma for three weeks after suffering a stroke. She woke up with brain damage so severe that she had to learn how to talk, eat and walk again. According to a doctor’s calculation, medical care for the girl will cost more than $14 million over the course of her life. On top of that, doctors said the girl, now 15, will never function at an adult level.

Although it did not happen in Connecticut, this tragic case shows the catastrophic repercussions of medical malpractice. Hospital records show that the doctor suspected the girl had meningitis but still did not perform the tests to make a diagnosis. Had she taken the extra time to do it, this girl might be living a normal life. It will be interesting to see how the medical malpractice case turns out.

Source: Lowell Sun, “Lowell medical malpractice trial set to begin,” Feb. 27, 2013

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