The parents of a four-year-old child filed a West Virginia medical malpractice case on July 16, 2014 against a physician, a radiology practice, and a local hospital, alleging that their medical negligence in failing to diagnose their son’s ruptured spleen led to his serious injuries. The family’s unfortunate odyssey began when the child, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was brought to the hospital emergency room on August 27, 2013 complaining of dry heaves, chills, and significant abdominal pain, which caused him to be screaming in pain and pointing to his abdomen.
According to the parents’ West Virginia medical malpractice lawsuit, a CT scan of the boy’s abdomen was performed but the defendant physician who reviewed the study failed to note an enlarged spleen or that the boy’s spleen had ruptured. The child’s medical condition rapidly deteriorated while he was in the emergency room, requiring that he be intubated and treated for hemorrhagic shock (his blood pressure dropped to 69/56) for which he received blood transfusions. Despite the boy’s worsening condition, the treating physicians failed to order an abdominal ultrasound or obtain a surgical consultation.
The local hospital’s emergency room physicians transferred the child to another hospital for evaluation, diagnosis, care, and treatment. During the helicopter ride to the receiving hospital, the boy’s condition deteriorated to the point where the helicopter had to divert to another hospital en route, where emergency surgery was performed to address the child’s ruptured spleen that was finally diagnosed when physicians reviewed the earlier CT scan. During the emergency surgery, the boy coded and required CPR to be resuscitated. Further hospitalizations were required.
The parents’ medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the physician who originally read the CT scan was negligent, reckless, and incompetent in failing to diagnose their son’s ruptured spleen, and was further negligent in failing to compare the August 27 CT scan with an earlier CT scan on July 6, 2013. The first hospital is named as a medical malpractice defendant for its failure to order additional testing and its failure to obtain a surgical consultation at the time of the emergency room visit.
The West Virginia medical malpractice case seeks unspecified compensatory damages for the little boy’s permanent brain injury, developmental delays, and other personal injuries allegedly suffered as a result of the medical malpractice defendants’ medical negligence.
This sad and unfortunate medical malpractice case is an example of the situation faced by most people who arrive in hospital emergency rooms throughout the United States: you don’t know the education, training, knowledge, or experience level of those assigned to diagnose and treat your medical condition, and you are not given a choice regarding who provides you with your emergency room care. Most people with complicated or unexpected emergency medical situations who visit hospital emergency rooms have no way of knowing if their complex medical conditions have been fully and properly diagnosed, if the treatment they received was proper and sufficient, or if the discharge instructions they received were appropriate and complete.
If you or a loved one are the victim of emergency room malpractice, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your emergency room negligence claim for you and represent you in an emergency room malpractice case, if appropriate.
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