What Happens When an Infectious Disease Results From a Delay in Diagnosis?

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Medical malpractice happens when a doctor, nurse or other health care practitioner causes harm to a patient by a negligent act. Before a patient can sue a doctor or nurse, Florida law requires that another doctor, nurse or similar health care provider sign an affidavit that there has been medical malpractice.  At Badgley Law Group we partner with medical expert witnesses to help build a winning case. An example of this collaboration would be working with an infectious disease expert, in a case where you or your loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice relating to an infectious disease condition.

  • Infectious diseases account for many emergency-room visits each year. Patients can be harmed when there is a delay in diagnosis or inadequate treatment and follow up.
  • Medical malpractice can arise in patient follow up of blood culture results taken on a visit to the Emergency Room. The patient can be discharged based on negative tests taken on the visit, pending the blood culture results.
  • These cases have resulted in court settlements and payouts, so it is vital that an Emergency Room have a follow up protocol.

A case of an infectious disease that led to a lawsuit is one where a woman presented to the Emergency room after being referred there by her primary care physician.

She presented with a week suffering from headache, fever and body aches. In the emergency room the physician performs a lumbar puncture, urinalysis, and blood cultures. The woman was discharged when her other tests where negative and pending the blood culture results. The Emergency Room Nurse calls the patient 48 hours later when the blood cultures grew group B streptococcus. The nurse was not able to speak to the discharged patient, and after several telephone calls she left a voice message.

The patient returned to the emergency room a week later with worsening of her symptoms and is admitted for bacterial endocarditis, a serious infection in the heart tissue. This patient was found to have aortic regurgitation and valvular disease and was expected to need a valve replacement.

  • The patient sued the medical practitioners on the case from her first emergency room visit. The defense claimed that the damage was pre-existing and not worsened by the delay in her diagnosis. A $1.2 million settlement was reached.
  • The follow up call was delegated to the nurse, but the primary care physician was not contacted as another way to reach the patient on her blood culture results.
  • Why was this medical malpractice? Because medical professionals should know that infective endocarditis would have been a possible diagnosis relating to the positive blood culture of group B streptococcus. The disease very deadly and the patient’s outcome is worsened when there is a delay in a diagnosis or a misdiagnosis
  • There is never a guarantee of a positive outcome when you seek medical treatment, but as seen in the situation here, the doctors in the case had an opportunity to diagnose and treat the patient with the positive blood culture result.

There are many examples of serious medical conditions which are readily treatable, but can have terrible outcomes if left untreated such as:

  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Lyme disease.
  • Heart Attack
  • Embolism
  • Diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Meningitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Infection

A medical malpractice lawsuit is different from other types of personal injury cases because there are two areas of expertise required. Medicine and Law.

Decide on choosing our experienced medical malpractice attorneys because you will be confident in hiring the best law firm. We understand medicine and consult with top medical experts and witnesses.

We will help review the facts to your claim and determine if you have a case to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. At the Badgley Law Group our Orlando medical malpractice lawyers will work hard to help you receive compensation for your loss and injuries you have suffered.

For a free consultation call 407-487-4154

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