Articles Posted in Misdiagnosis of Infection

James Woodard was 64 years old and underwent the first of a two-part elective back surgery at the University of New Mexico Hospital. While Woodard was hospitalized, he was unknowingly exposed to MRSA, an infectious process that is hard to eradicate and usually contracted in hospitals.

One month after the first surgical procedure, Woodard underwent pre-operative procedures at the same hospital in anticipation of the second portion of his back surgery. After his second surgery, a nasal swab was positive for MRSA. Blood cultures returned two weeks later confirmed this finding. Woodard developed spinal osteomyelitis, a bone infection, and had numerous treatments, including surgeries, antibiotics and debridement to try remove the infection. Woodard required 135 days of hospital care and treatment at a rehabilitation facility.

He still requires medical care and now requires a wheelchair because of his condition. Woodard had been a city employee who planned to retire in just a few years.
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In 2011, Sean Elliott filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Resurgens P.C. and Dr. Tapan Daftaria. The lawsuit alleged that Elliott ended up with paralysis because treating physician Dr. Tapan Daftaria chose not to timely diagnose and treat an abscess in Elliott’s thoracic spine.

During the jury trial, he attempted to call Savannah Sullivan, a nurse. She was not identified as a potential witness in Elliott’s written discovery responses or in the parties’ pre-trial order.

The trial judge excluded Sullivan as a witness. After the jury returned a defense verdict for Resurgens and Dr. Daftaria, Elliott appealed to the court of appeals arguing that the trial judge’s exclusion of Sullivan was an error. The court of appeals in Georgia agreed, reversing the jury’s verdict and remanding the case for a new trial.
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Ana Pereira, 29, was admitted to Monmouth Medical Center where she was diagnosed as having a kidney stone and renal colic. Her condition continued to deteriorate. Blood cultures were positive for bacterial growth by noon of the next day. Pereira underwent a successful procedure to drain her kidney after one failed attempt. However, she developed sepsis.

As a result of the sepsis, Pereira fell into a coma for 5 days and suffered a loss of peripheral circulation. Because of the lack of circulation, bilateral leg amputations and the removal of her left hand at the wrist were necessary.

Pereira sued four physicians who treated her at the medical center alleging negligent treatment of the kidney stone. She also alleged that an on-call urologist chose not to timely report to the hospital when the facility notified his employer of her condition. Pereira claimed that the employer of the urologist had contracted to handle emergency calls from the hospital despite the one-hour driving distance between the practice and the hospital, which precluded a medically acceptable response time.
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Danielle Reardon underwent endoscopic sinus surgery with bilateral septoplasty at Tinley Woods Surgery Center in Tinley Park, Ill., on Dec. 7, 2005. The surgery was completed by the defendant, Dr. Joseph Gavron, who is an otolaryngologist. Dr. Gavron was to treat Reardon’s chronic pansinusitis and deviated nasal septum. At the end of the surgery, Dr. Gavron packed her nose with gel, foam and gauze soaked in a topical antibiotic. No oral post-op antibiotics were prescribed by Dr. Gavron.

She experienced what were described as unbearable headaches while recovering the next day. With no relief from the headaches, she took two doses of Vicodin. Continuing with the unbearable headaches, Reardon called 911 and was transported by ambulance to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., where she given two doses of morphine and the antibiotic Unasyn.

She later became unresponsive with an altered state of consciousness. She was then treated empirically with broad spectrum antibiotics for bacterial meningitis.

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The plaintiff, Brian Dore, was 70 and retired when he saw his family practice physician, the defendant, Dr. Bradford Wainer.  It was April 16, 2012, and Dore complained of severe right shoulder pain when he started to play golf in March 2012. Dr. Wainer palpated something suspicious under Dore’s skin in the upper shoulder/chest area and heard a heart murmur.  Dr. Wainer ordered rib and chest x-rays, which were completed that day.  He also ordered a transthoracic echocardiogram for the following day.

The x-ray showed opacity in the upper right lung and potential pathologic fractures. The echocardiogram showed thickening of the mitral heart valve and small light mitral regurgitation, which the defendant doctor maintained was consistent with mitral systolic murmur and not indicative of any disease. Mitral regurgitation is the condition of a patient whose heart valve, the valve of the left of the heart, doesn’t close all the way and allows blood to flow back into the chamber. This would happen each time the mitral valve would close. It’s a dangerous condition.

Dr. Wainer then ordered blood tests and CT scans. The blood work showed mildly elevated white blood cell count, platelets and sedimentation rate as well as low hemoglobin (10.5), all of which were indicative of anemia.

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In this confidential settlement, a 13-year-old girl was sent to the hospital after she was involved in an automobile accident. She underwent an abdominal CT scan with contrast, which revealed a lacerated spleen with free fluid. The girl was referred to as “Doe” in this case for the purpose of maintaining confidentiality. Doe was transferred to a local hospital. An emergency room physician there reviewed the CT images with the radiologist. A pediatric surgeon also saw the scans.

Doe’s vital signs continued to worsen, and she complained of abdominal pain. A nurse notified the on-call resident of the worsening condition. This doctor diagnosed fluid shifting and ordered IV fluid and morphine.

The next morning a trauma surgeon ordered emergency surgery. Doe suffered a heart attack and required resuscitation before the procedure, which revealed a necrotic bowel resulting from the seatbelt injury in the automobile crash. Doe was then transferred to the ICU where she suffered a heart attack and died. The cause of death was determined to be septic shock resulting from seatbelt-related intra-abdominal injuries. Continue reading

April Mendel, 52, underwent a laminectomy done by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Williams. Dr. Williams was assisted by an orthopedic surgery resident, Dr. Andrew Beaver.

Several days after being discharged from the hospital, she called Dr. Williams’s office complaining of fever and drainage at the wound site. A member of Dr. Williams’s staff told Mendel to see the doctor the next day or go to the emergency room.

She went to a second hospital where she was diagnosed as having a wound infection. After being contacted regarding her condition, Dr. Williams ordered a transfer to different hospital at 6 p.m. By noon the next day, Mendel was transferred to a different hospital where 6 hours later she underwent surgery to treat an abscess in her lumbar spine. Despite the surgery, she suffered a permanent spinal cord injury that has left her with paraplegia, paralysis of her lower limbs.

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Lauren Readler, 2, was taken to the emergency room because she was vomiting and had severe stomach pain. She had not had a bowel movement for two days.

Lauren was given Zofran. Her parents were told to follow up with her pediatrician. Lauren’s symptoms persisted. She was returned to the emergency room at the same hospital. Lauren then underwent an X-ray and was diagnosed as having a gastrointestinal problem.

The emergency department physicians recommended that Lauren be transferred to a different hospital.

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In a confidential arbitration and settlement, Mr. Doe, age 64, suffered severe injuries in a car accident. Doe was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed as having angle closure glaucoma, a condition in which the iris bulges forward to block the eye’s drainage system. Mr. Doe was given drops, a topical steroid, and an antibiotic. For several days, the doctors continued to watch Mr. Doe determining that he was not yet a candidate for eye surgery due to his weakened physical condition caused by the car accident.

About 2 ½ weeks after the car crash, Mr. Doe was discharged with instructions to follow up with an eye clinic in two weeks. However, Mr. Doe’s vision deteriorated, and he was later taken to a hospital emergency room. At that hospital he underwent emergency bilateral iridotomies. A laser iridotomy uses a focused beam of light making a hole on the outer edge or rim of the iris. The opening allows fluid to flow between the front part of the eye and the area behind the iris. The iridotomy is also the procedure used in angle closure glaucoma patients. Despite this intervention, Mr. Doe now has a lack of light perception in his left eye and only the ability to count fingers at four feet in his right eye.

Mr. Doe brought this lawsuit against the ophthalmologist who supervised his care at the hospital claiming the doctor chose not to properly treat the angle closure glaucoma by, among other things, ordering frequent checks of his intraocular pressures, performing timely laser iridotomies, examining him in the days before his discharge from the hospital and arranging for immediate follow-up care. Mr. Doe did not claim any lost income. At an arbitration, Mr. Doe received an award of $3 million for his damages. The attorney representing Mr. Doe was Kevin Donius.

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A Minnesota Appellate Court has held that expert testimony was required to prove a plaintiff’s claim that the paramedic’s negligent transfer was the cause of a patient’s ankle injury and later resulted in a leg amputation.

Mary C. suffered from various health problems and was a left-leg amputee. After she developed respiratory problems, Mary called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, she was being moved from her wheelchair to a stretcher. While she was being moved, she suffered a fractured right ankle. This fracture led to unsuccessful ankle surgeries followed by infection and ultimately the amputation of her right leg.

Mary C. sued the ambulance service, alleging its paramedics were negligent in transferring her to the stretcher and caused her fall and ankle fracture, which ultimately led to the amputation of her right leg. The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that Mary had failed to serve the required affidavit of expert identification within the statutory time frame. The court granted defendant’s (the ambulance service) motion to dismiss.

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