Missed diagnosis returns $5 million for medical malpractice victim

While large settlements in medical malpractice cases typically make headlines when a doctor makes an egregious surgical error or something of a similar nature, medical malpractice cases can also be brought forth when a doctor fails to do something. A medical malpractice victim in a case where the doctor failed to identify a serious medical issue was recently awarded $5 million in New Hampshire.

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 as a result of the events that transpired in 2007 when the victim went to the emergency room with a prolonged and severe headache. Tests were administered when the female victim began slurring her speech. However, the doctor that reviewed the victim’s CT scans decided that any abnormalities displayed in the brain were of “doubtful clinical significance.”

Over the next several hours, while the patient was not being treated, her condition rapidly declined until the point where she was airlifted to another hospital. CT scans there showed that the victim had serious hemorrhaging in her brain thought to be from thrombosis or a stroke. Further, upon a second review of the victim’s first CT scan, those issues were already evident. Therefore, the victim suffered for hours longer than necessary without adequate treatment.

She had to undergo brain surgery and suffered more severely than she would have provided she was treated when evidence of a serious issue first presented itself. Currently, the victim must undergo intensive therapy to relearn basic abilities. While the $5 million verdict for the victim will not reverse her suffering or the serious changes to her lifestyle, compensation of this nature is the best way that our system has for acknowledging a victim’s pain while simultaneously providing for their long-term care and medical expenses.

Source: Seacoast Online, “Couple awarded $5m in medical malpractice suit,” Aaron Sanborn, Nov. 20, 2012

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