Articles Posted in Misdiagnosis

Lacey Povrzenich, who had been 4 years old at the time, underwent bloodwork at Monongahela Valley Hospital, which reported that her creatinine was normal. For the next seven years, Lacey experienced recurrent urinary tract infections. For that condition, Lacey’s pediatrician, Dr. Dawn McCracken, prescribed antibiotics. The doctor also ordered repeat lab work.

Lacey was later admitted to a hospital suffering from dehydration and vomiting. Testing there showed an abnormally high creatinine level. A CT scan of Lacey’s pelvis and abdomen revealed abnormalities in her ureters and kidneys. However, this condition was not noted by the interpreting radiologist.

One year later, a physician’s assistant at a new health clinic noted that Lacey had high blood pressure. A second blood pressure reading that was taken later that year was even higher. The following year, Lacey was rushed to a children’s hospital where she was diagnosed as having end-stage renal failure. This required a double kidney transplant. Lacey now requires up to 30 pills per day for her condition.
Continue reading

Doe was 32 when he was taken to Roe Hospital’s emergency room suffering from abdominal distention, constipation and discomfort. There were a large number of patients in the emergency room at the time Doe came in. In the emergency department, Mr. Doe was brought to a hallway because of the overcrowding where hospital nurses attended to him. Over the course of several hours, Doe’s symptoms worsened. Hospital nurses administered a Fleet enema.

A later CT scan revealed that Mr. Doe had a bowel perforation. Surgery was considered but deemed to be too late. Mr. Doe suffered septic shock and then died a day later.

The lawsuit against the hospital alleged that it chose not to timely diagnose and treat Doe’s bowel perforation, which led to his untimely death. Before trial, the parties settled for $950,000.
Continue reading

The patient-physician relationship is built on trust — the patient trusts that his or her doctor is acting within the standard of care and the physician trusts that the patient is following orders. In this Illinois medical malpractice case, both parties argued that the other violated this mutual trust. The plaintiff argued that the defendant doctor acted negligently, while the doctor argued that the plaintiff failed to follow his medical advice.

The case arose after the 19-year-old plaintiff developed lithium toxicity. The defendant psychiatrist, Dr. John Huh, had prescribed the plaintiff lithium for her bipolar disorder.This in itself was not unusual. Lithium is often prescribed to treat patients with bipolar disorder due to its ability to reduce the frequency and severity of bipolar depression.

However, lithium carries with it some fairly serious side effects, including muscle weakness, sudden hair loss, poor concentration, drowsiness, vomiting, and diarrhea. In order to prevent these serious side effects, physicians regularly monitor the levels of lithium in a patient’s blood stream, adjusting the dosage as necessary. However, in this case, Dr. Huh failed to obtain regular blood draws, thereby missing the warning signs that the plaintiff was developing lithium toxicity.
Continue reading

T.S., a 55-year-old male, was hospitalized at Provena St. Joseph Hospital from April 9 to April 15, 2005, and received outpatient care from April 18 to April 28, 2005. He complained of back pain to nurses, but it was claimed that this information was not communicated to the attending doctors.

T.S. alleged that he suffered a spinal infection, which was not included in the differential diagnosis of the treating physicians, and that appropriate diagnostic imaging studies and lab tests were not done. Because of the infection, T.S. suffered permanent paraplegia, paralysis from the chest down, and neurogenic bowel and bladder dysfunction. He is confined to a wheelchair.

The medical negligence lawsuit was brought against Provena Hospital, treating physicians, radiologists and Kishwaukee Hospital, where T.S. was admitted on April 28, 2005.
Continue reading

Jonathan Rabkin, 53, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of the sudden onset of upper abdominal pain radiating to his back. The attending emergency room physician, Dr. Vikram Varma, ordered a chest x-ray and chest CT scan without contrast.

Radiologist Dr. Paul Shieh interpreted the CT scan as showing a 5.2 cm ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm by definition is an excessive localized enlargement of an artery caused by a weakening of the artery wall. In too many patient cases, an aneurysm left unrecognized and untreated can be deadly.

Rabkin was then admitted for observation and five hours later underwent an enhanced CT scan, which showed a type A aortic dissection.
Continue reading

Rickie Lee Hewitt consulted a urologist at The Iowa Clinic after receiving his prostate cancer screening results. He was 65 years old at the time. The urologist ordered a biopsy, which was sent to the clinic’s anatomical laboratory for interpretation.

Pathologist Dr. Joy Trueblood, the laboratory’s director, examined Hewitt’s slides and reported that she had found cancer in both sides of his prostate.

Hewitt then met with the urologist, who told him that he required a radical prostatectomy in order to survive his cancer. The surgery left Hewitt with erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
Continue reading

Melina Greer, 25, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of a severe headache, neck pain and decreased and blurred vision. She received a neurological consultation from neurology resident, Dr. Basad Essa, who noted that she was having difficulty performing an optic fundus examination.

An emergency physician later discharged Greer with a diagnosis of a complex migraine.
Two days later, she returned to the hospital with complete vision loss. A lumbar puncture led to a diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Greer sued neurologist Dr. Ruggero Serafini, whom she claimed had consulted on her case during the first hospital visit, alleging he chose not to timely diagnose intracranial hypertension. It was alleged had she undergone a simple fundus examination and lumbar puncture, Greer asserted she could have been timely treated with acetazolamide and an LP (lumbar peritoneal) shunt and avoided additional vision loss.
Continue reading

After a fall, John Mitchell, 53, went to a Kaiser Permanente occupational medicine specialist complaining of back pain, numbness and weakness. The doctor prescribed steroids and a muscle relaxer and asked Mitchell to return in one week.

At the next appointment, Mitchell reported increased numbness and weakness in his legs. The doctor referred Mitchell to a Kaiser Permanente emergency room for an MRI of his lumbar spine. The MRI showed mild degenerative changes. Mitchell was referred to a neurologist.

Before the neurology appointment, he met with a Kaiser specialist who ordered a STAT MRI of the thoracic spine. The first available appointment was four days later.
Continue reading

Edward Dallies, 51, was admitted to a hospital suffering from a swollen left arm and back pain. A family physician, Dr. Lawrence Rahall, prescribed intravenous antibiotics.

A bone scan showed Dallies had a compression fracture of the spine. However, he did not undergo an MRI because he did not fit into the hospital’s MRI machine. Five days later, Dr. Rahall stopped the antibiotics. Dallies was discharged three days later.

Dallies’ neurological condition worsened. He became unable to move his legs. Dallies was later diagnosed as having an epidural abscess, which necessitated surgery. As a consequence of his injuries, he now suffers from paralysis and neurological deficits, including a neurogenic bowel and bladder. He is unable to continue working as a laborer earning approximately $25,000 per year.

Dallies filed a lawsuit against Dr. Rahall and one of his treating orthopedists alleging that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat the epidural abscess and start appropriate antibiotic therapy. The lawsuit also alleged that the defendants chose not to stabilize the compression fracture.
Continue reading

Madaline Pitkin, 26, was booked into the Washington County jail after being arrested for unlawful possession of heroin. For the next week, Pitkin, while alone in her jail cell, suffered from opioid withdrawal resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and limited eating and drinking.

The jail staff came to her cell but did not respond to her four requests for medical care. She was not transferred to a hospital as she requested. Pitkin later died of a cardiac event in her jail cell. She is survived by her parent and sibling.

Pitkin’s estate filed a lawsuit against Corizon Health Inc., the county, and several healthcare staff members, claiming they chose not to diagnose and treat dehydration. The Pitkin family argued that she required transfer to a hospital and intravenous saline treatment in light of her symptoms.
Continue reading