Articles Posted in Misdiagnosis

In the confidential reporting of this case, Mr. Doe, 58, developed shortness of breath. He was admitted to a local hospital where he underwent various tests to rule out pulmonary embolism.

The hospital staff interpreted a pulmonary angiogram suspicious for, but not diagnostic of, an embolism. Mr. Doe was prescribed Coumadin and injectable Lovenox. He was then discharged from the hospital.

The following day, Mr. Doe returned to the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. A CT scan and ultrasound showed a rectus sheath hematoma with internal bleeding. A rectus sheath hematoma is described as an accumulation of blood in the outer lining or sheath of the rectus abdominis muscle. The condition causes abdominal pain with or without a mass. The collection of blood or the hematoma may be caused by either rupture of the epigastric artery or by a muscular tear.
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Donald Zuk, 81, suffered from atrial fibrillation (AFib). He had been taking the prescription medication Amiodarone for 17 years.

Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic medication used to treat and prevent different types of irregular heartbeats. The drug can be used to prevent ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and wide complex tachycardia. The medicine can also be appropriate for atrial fibrillation and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. It is taken orally.

In this case, Zuk’s cardiologist, Dr. David Cannom, doubled the dosage of the Amiodarone after the patient experienced breakthrough AFib. After taking the increased dosage for several months, Zuk complained of different negative side effects. This prompted a chest x-ray that showed interstitial change in the left upper lobe. Dr. Cannom recommended a follow-up visit.
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Kevin Clanton, 28, underwent a pre-employment screening and was told that he had high blood pressure. He went to a federally financed public healthcare facility where he met with nurse practitioner Denise Jordan. She noted that he had severe hypertension with blood pressure readings of 210/170. Jordan ordered lab work and diagnosed high cholesterol and obesity in addition to hypertension. She gave Clanton medication samples and told him to follow up with her the next week so that he could receive his work clearance.

Clanton did not follow up with Jordan as instructed. About two years later, his employer told him that he needed medical care due to his high blood pressure. For the next year, Clanton consulted again with Jordan who attempted to lower his blood pressure with various medications and address his symptoms such as blurred vision.

Clanton often took extended absences from his treatment and stopped consulting with Jordan for 15 months before resuming treatment with her. Lab tests taken at his latest visit showed that he had Stage IV chronic kidney disease. Clanton was not advised of this condition.
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In a confidential report of this case, Doe, age 55, underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed by a surgeon and partner. During the procedure, the surgeon was concerned that one of the trocars used could have perforated the patient’s small bowel. A trocar is a medical device used in surgery and placed through the abdomen during laparoscopic surgery.

The surgeon told his associates, including his partner, that if the patient developed complications after her discharge, the diagnosis of a perforated small bowel should be considered.

The patient later called the surgical group advising them that she was experiencing persistent vomiting and severe pain. The surgeon advised her to go to the emergency room. There the patient reported severe abdominal pain. Testing revealed an elevated white count, and a CT scan showed extensive free air and fluid in her naval area. At the hospital, a radiologist diagnosed a possible perforation related to the recent surgery, a small bowel obstruction and an abdominal abscess.
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Carson Sofro, 33, was diagnosed with having a malignant tumor in his colon. He underwent a resection performed by a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Karsten at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center. After removing the tumor, Dr. Karsten connected the colon and small bowel.

Sofro suffered a variety of symptoms after the surgery, including pain, vomiting and bloating. He sought treatment at St. Luke’s and was told that his symptoms were a normal complication of the surgery. Sofro continued to experience these symptoms for more than two years before being diagnosed as having a 360-degree twist in his small bowel. That condition required another resection, causing him to miss one month of work from his job as the owner of a basketball camp.

Sofro filed a lawsuit against St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center alleging liability by Dr. Karsten choosing not to ensure that the small bowel was not twisted before creating the anastomosis. There was a claim of lost income of $15,000. Anastomosis is a surgical procedure connecting adjacent blood vessels, parts of the intestine or other channels of the body.
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Mary Stevenson was 55 years old when she was taken to the hospital suffering from a severe headache and shortness of breath. At the hospital, she was diagnosed as having hypertension; a doctor prescribed blood pressure medication. She also underwent blood work before being discharged to her home.

Within hours of her discharge, she began to experience seizures and vomiting. She was rushed to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having bacterial meningitis. She lost consciousness and died just two weeks later. She is survived by her two adult children.

One of Stevenson’s daughters, individually and on behalf of her estate, sued two doctors who treated her at the first hospital maintaining that they chose not to diagnose and treat bacterial meningitis.
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Nicole Hill was 33 years old when she went to the hospital emergency room complaining of acute lower back pain, as well as hip and leg pain. An emergency department doctor prescribed pain medication and sent her home.

Hill’s pain continued and as a result, she came back to the same hospital two weeks later telling the same doctor that her symptoms had increased and that she was suffering numbness and incontinence. She again was released with instructions to obtain an outpatient MRI.

Hill went to another hospital, this time a week later, and was diagnosed as having cauda equina syndrome and a massive disk herniation at level L5-S1. This condition is a medical emergency in most instances.

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Galina Volodina, a 42-year-old breast cancer survivor, complained of gastrointestinal pain. She underwent a stomach biopsy, which pathologist Dr. Kanta Davessar reported as being benign.

About 14 months later, she developed a lesion in her uterus and was then diagnosed as having malignant signet ring cell carcinoma thought to have originated from her stomach. Despite chemotherapy, she died less than a year later. She had been an office worker making between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. She is survived by her husband and two minor children.

Volodina’s family sued Dr. Davessar and her practice alleging that she chose not to timely diagnose a malignant stomach lesion at the time of the first biopsy. It was argued that had the defendants interpreted the biopsy correctly, she would have been diagnosed at Stage I or early Stage II, giving her an 80% chance of survival.
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Emilee Williams, a 21-year-old student, consulted an internist at Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities when she experienced tremors, balance and concentration problems, insomnia and panic attacks. She was diagnosed as having fatigue and depression and was prescribed medication.

Almost five months later, she returned to the clinic in a deteriorated condition and was re-diagnosed with simple anxiety.
The next month, when her symptoms worsened, Williams underwent an MRI that showed severe brain damage resulting from Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic inherited disorder in which excessive amounts of copper accumulate in the body, particularly in the liver, brain and eyes. Despite treatment, she still suffers from the effects of her brain injury, which affects her speaking and ability to walk among other deficits.

Williams sued Mercy Clinic Springfield alleging vicarious liability for the physician’s choosing not to timely diagnose Wilson’s disease and including her neurological condition on her differential diagnosis.
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Michael Shimko was 17 years old when he went to the Geisinger-Kistler Clinic for treatment of what he thought was a hemorrhoid. A second-year resident, Dr. Christian Basque, diagnosed a hemorrhoid without examining Shimko. Dr. Basque prescribed a rectal suppository.

Eight months later, Shimko’s mother contacted Dr. Stephen Evans, Shimko’s family physician, and reported that the supposed hemorrhoid, which she described as a lump on his buttocks, had become large and painful. Dr. Evans reviewed Shimko’s medical records, refilled the suppository prescription and instructed the staff to refer Shimko to a colorectal surgeon. The referral was never made.

Over the next fourteen months, after Shimko’s initial visit to the clinic, he became unable to sit, prompting a visit to an urgent care clinic. There, medical providers diagnosed a complex pilonidal abscess. A pilonidal abscess or cyst occurs in the cleft at the top of the buttocks. The cyst and abscess can cause severe pain and often becomes infected.
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