As a personal injury law firm, we did not expect to have to comment on the pandemic. However, several ideas are worth mentioning. As the healthcare system struggles with the coronavirus, most medical professionals are doing all they can, trying to save lives and prevent further spread of the virus. However, there are always some people who make medical mistakes or don't do everything they can and cause harm. For example, ER medical personnel could misdiagnose, fail to diagnose, or fail to treat an injured patient. They might send people injured in accidents home too early.
These people may return to the hospital later and have serious risks to their health or life because of a health care provider's medical errors. These risks may be more significant now more than ever.
Healthcare providers are trying to do anything and everything they can in these uncertain times, but a patient's duty of care is always the top priority and a patient's rights are what we fight for whenever the need arises.
Failure to Recognize Post-Accident Internal Bleeding
Before the coronavirus crisis hit, we recently had a client who, after being involved in a car accident, was admitted to a hospital. There, the ER medical team checked him out and quickly discharged him, assuring him he was good to go. Our client went ahead and resumed his normal plans, but while abroad on a scheduled trip, he suffered from further health issues and complications.
While abroad, he found out that he had internal bleeding and had to be rushed in a jet over 900 miles, from an island back to Tampa. At the hospital, a portion of his GI tract had to be removed over the course of two surgeries. As his organs were very swollen and couldn't be reconnected, he also had to have an emergency ileostomy, surgery used to move waste out of the body. Luckily, about three or four months later, when most of his trauma healed, his doctor was able to do a reversal surgery to reconnect his GI tract, so that he no longer needed the ostomy bag.
Overall, as a result of the car accident, he incurred medical costs of over $700K for treatment of his injuries. The original hospital where he was rushed to after the accident and the physician who treated him also failed to recognize that he had bad chemical burns and they didn't do any imaging. Our client also:
- Had to be put on an IV
- Spent over a month in the hospital for rehabilitation
- Still gets weak often
- Has long-term side effect from missing the GI tract
- Had to pay for an extremely expensive life flight
What Does This Medical Malpractice Case Mean for You?
This case illustrates the importance of patient post-accident medical care. Although there may be no obvious complications after a car accident, a patient is still at risk of complications. Consequently, it is imperative that a healthcare professional employs practices and methods that can efficiently diagnose a condition once they have a patient in their care, performing the assessment required before discharge and being alert to the most misdiagnosed conditions. Unfortunately, in this case, the initial ER medical provider was negligent and discharged the plaintiff without ordering important tests or considering internal bleeding.
This case also exemplifies how a patient's condition can go from stable to critical after discharge, in turn, that ER healthcare professionals can be held responsible for the decisions they make. In this case, our legal team was successful in proving that medical tests should have been ordered soon after the crash. The implication of this conclusion is that the ER's medical team method of discharging the patient without examining him did not meet the standard of care in this case.
The outcome of this case - a settlement in favor of our client - also was heavily dependent on the use of medical experts who testified on behalf of the man to establish the appropriate standard of care. In medical malpractice cases, expert testimony is often critical and it is important to quickly identify and secure the assistance of qualified experts. It's important to have an expert on board early in the case to shape the approach to the entire case and this justifies the expense of early involvement. It is also critical for the client and his or her counsel to make sure the expert devotes sufficient time to prepare for the specific case.
Florida Lawyer for Victims of Internal Bleeding Medical Negligence
Failure to diagnose internal bleeding is a medical error that can lead to a lack of medical treatment and serious injury. People who suffered harm due to medical negligence involving internal bleeding have the right to recover compensation for damages. If you, or a loved one, were injured because of medical malpractice involving internal bleeding, please contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary for a free consultation. Our skilled Florida medical malpractice attorney will review your case and determine if you have grounds for a legal claim or malpractice lawsuit.