Failure To Diagnose Strep Leads To Leg Amputation For 6 Year Old

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Failure to diagnose and medical negligence can be devastating forms of medical malpractice in New Jersey and New York. Sometimes the failure to perform a test generally accepted as the proper procedure in the medical community can lead to significant and life-threatening injuries, and even death. Readers of this blog may be interested in a recent medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Maryland on Nov. 3. The lawsuit names Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC) and a staff doctor there as defendants, and the case underscores the grave problems that can quickly develop from poor treatment decisions.

Last December, a 6-year-old boy was brought to the BWMC by his mother. The boy had a fever well over 102 degrees and swollen tonsils. He also complained of pain in his abdomen, left leg and left groin. Doctors ordered an X-ray of the boy’s left hip and an ultrasound of his testicles. Neither showed anything remarkable, and the boy was discharged with a diagnosis of nasal congestion and hip strain, for which he was given ibuprofen. Within 24 hours, the boy’s parents rushed him to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with systemic strep infection, ultimately resulting in the amputation of both legs above his knees.

The lawsuit holds that BWMC and the doctor failed to diagnose the strep and failed to follow generally accepted medical procedure to discover the boy’s condition. The lawsuit further claims that, if the strep had been properly discovered, the boy would normally have been given antibiotics, which would have quickly resolved the condition. For its part, BWMC defends the treatment of the boy. While purportedly lauding the efforts of the family to publicize the problems associated with advanced strep infection, the hospital also claimed the boy’s symptoms were not consistent with this very aggressive form of infection. The treating doctor had no comment, and the lawsuit will now proceed to discovery as it works its way through the Maryland court system.

As this family has found, medical malpractice can have painful and life-altering consequences. In New Jersey and New York, those who believe they or a loved one have suffered personal injury due to the negligence of another in rendering medical care have certain rights by law to seek compensation for their pain and suffering, as well as for medical bills and any lost wages that may have resulted from a failure to diagnose. Although the 6-year-old boy in this case has a hard road ahead, he and his family may well achieve some measure of alleviation through the coming court proceedings.

Source: hometownannapolis, “Couple sues BWMC for malpractice,” Scott Daugherty, Nov. 15, 2011

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