Articles Posted in Misdiagnosis

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.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

Virginia Moraites, a 77-year-old retiree, underwent a total left knee replacement at Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan, Ill., on Oct. 13, 2009. The inpatient procedure was done by the defendant orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gerard Goshgarian. On the morning after the surgery, Oct. 14, 2009, a nurse found that Moraites was unable to move her left foot. The foot felt cold and there were no detectable pulses in her foot.

The hospital’s nurse immediately called both Moraites’ internist and Dr. Goshgarian to report these findings. The internist responded first and ordered a STAT left leg arterial Doppler study as well as a vascular surgery consultation.

Vascular surgeon Dr. David Onsager sent his physician’s assistant to examine Moraites and also ordered ultrasound testing of the blood flow in her feet. Dr. Goshgarian came to bedside to examine Moraites, but he did not issue any additional orders and left to perform surgery on a different patient.
Continue reading

Aaron Riedel, who was 28 at the time, went to Lodi Community Hospital emergency room complaining of back pain. He told the emergency department staff that he was taking an antibiotic to treat a MRSA infection. Riedel was later discharged from Lodi Community Hospital with a diagnosis of simple muscle strain.

The next day, he returned to the emergency room with worsening back pain. Again, Riedel informed the emergency department staff about the antibiotic he was taking and his MRSA history. The emergency room physician, Dr. Christopher Kalapodis, ordered a CT scan, which ruled out a kidney stone as the cause of the problem.

Riedel was then given a dose of morphine and an anti-inflammatory before he was again discharged. The next day however, he required additional treatment in the emergency room where he was diagnosed as having a spinal epidural abscess. Despite efforts through surgery and rehabilitation, Riedel was left a paraplegic.
Continue reading

Antonio Marrero, 32, was seen at the Walanae Coast Comprehensive Center, which is a federally qualified health center. He went to the facility complaining of a sore throat.

Marrero was diagnosed with having a peritonsillar abscess, which required evaluation by an otolaryngologist. A health center physician decided to evaluate Marrero under sedation and subsequently administered the drug Etomidate. Etomidate is a short-acting intravenous drug used in general anesthesia and for sedation of patients for short procedures.

In this case when Etomidate was given, Marrero lost consciousness and died. The cause of death was determined to be oxygen deprivation resulting in anoxia.
Continue reading

Gretchen Altemus, 68, struck her head in a fall. She went to the Indiana Regional Center emergency room where she underwent a CT scan. The radiologist working for Aris Teleradiology interpreted the test as being normal.

She was admitted to the hospital. Just three hours later, she became non-responsive. A second CT scan was done showing intracranial bleeding. Although she was transferred to another hospital, she died the next day of brain damage resulting from the intracranial bleeding. She is survived by her two adult children.

Altemus’s daughter, on behalf of her family and estate, sued Aris Teleradiology and the hospital claiming that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat the intracranial bleeding. Had the radiologist identified the small area of bleeding in the brain, the family alleged that she could have received lifesaving treatment and survived.
Continue reading

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has held that an expert on language issues and healthcare could not testify that several healthcare providers had breached the standard of care in their treatment of a patient who had limited use of the English language.

Dalip Basanti, who was a native of India, received treatment for back and shoulder pain from doctors at the Salud Family Health Center and the Platte Valley Medical Center. She later became paralyzed from the chest down and learned that she suffered from a benign endodermal cyst that had compressed her spinal cord.

She sued the U.S. and others alleging liability for medical negligence. Basanti sought to admit the expert testimony of Dr. Glenn Flores, a physician specializing in language issues related to healthcare, who was to testify that the defendants had breached the standard of care that caused Basanti’s injuries by choosing not to use interpretative services to communicate with her. Basanti had limited English language proficiency. The defendants moved to strike Dr. Flores’s standard of care and causation opinions. The U.S. District Court judge granted that motion.
Continue reading

This appeal is from the district court’s dismissal, on statute of limitations grounds, of a medical malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff, Johnnie Watkins, filed the action on behalf of her adult daughter, Johnnice Ford, who is a disabled person. The lawsuit alleged that Ford sought treatment at the emergency room of Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Chicago where she was treated by a doctor who was an employee of Family Christian Health Center. This facility was operated pursuant to grant money from the Public Health Services, an agency of the U.S. government. The lawsuit was brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and the United States is the defendant.

In the lawsuit, it was asserted that the treating physician chose not to correctly diagnose and treat Ford who was eventually correctly diagnosed with Wernicke’s encephalopathy and who sustained neurological injuries, including permanent disability. Encephalopathy is a general term that describes a disease that damages the brain. Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a severe vitamin B1 deficiency. Parts of the brain may be damaged as a result of this deficiency causing increased difficulty with memory, movement, vision and coordination.

The federal district court judge dismissed the lawsuit that was filed beyond the relevant statute of limitations. Watkins appealed that dismissal order to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Continue reading

Alice Mays was 54 when she entered the emergency room at Sinai-Grace Hospital. She was complaining of nausea and vomiting over a four-day period. After the emergency department medical providers tested her, it was revealed that she had a bowel obstruction. The emergency department staff then gave her saline and later brought her to surgery. The 5-hour operation performed by the surgeon, Dr. Jill Watras, involved removal of part of her large bowel.

She showed continuously low urine output, which prompted Dr. Watras to order aggressive hydration after the surgery.

For the next two days, Mays received a total of 30,000 mL of fluids. Nonetheless, she had little or no urine output. She eventually suffered respiratory depression, abdominal compartment syndrome and organ failure. She was returned to surgery but suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage. Mays died two months later. She was a graphic artist and is survived by her siblings.
Continue reading

In a case being reported with a confidentiality agreement, Doe, age 15, developed a mass on the bone of her left middle finger, for which orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ronald Hillock recommended surgery.

During the outpatient procedure, Dr. Hillock used a latex Penrose drain to place a tourniquet around Doe’s finger. While in the recovery room, a nurse noted that Doe’s finger looked discolored; however, Hillock discharged Doe.

Doe had several follow-up appointments with Dr. Hillock in the next few weeks but the finger remained discolored. Doe consulted a different doctor about 30 days after the surgery. That physician diagnosed ischemia and later performed a finger amputation.
Continue reading