Articles Posted in Misdiagnosis of Infection

Joan Simmons, 58, was experiencing acute back pain. She went to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital. She was treated and released. Her back pain continued.

Eight days after the back pain started, she returned to the hospital complaining of an altered mental status. Testing revealed a blood stream infection.

An infectious disease specialist, Dr. Sarah Barbour, examined Simmons, who then began to experience progressive leg weakness.

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Russell Kazda, 50, developed a splinter wound in his right pinky finger. A hand specialist, Dr. James Schlenker, performed a surgical procedure to remove the splinter. In doing so, Dr. Schlenker opened Kazda’s palm to examine his tendon. About a week after this procedure, Kazda returned to Dr. Schlenker and was diagnosed as having an infection in that finger, which required debridements and skin grafting. Kazda now has significant disfigurement on his ring and pinky fingers resulting from that infection, which spread to the rest of his hand.

Kazda filed a lawsuit against Dr. Schlenker and his practice in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., maintaining that the doctor chose not to diagnose the infection and correctly prescribe IV antibiotics.

The lawsuit claimed that the infection, pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis, was already present before Dr. Schlenker performed the procedure to remove the splinter. The lawsuit also asserted that the follow-up appointment with Dr. Schlenker should have been scheduled for the day after the surgery, which would have prevented the infection from spreading to the rest of Kazda’s hand.
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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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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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