How Medical Malpractice and Failing to Refer to a Specialist Led to Kidney Failure and Dialysis Treatment

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Recently, we had a Florida medical malpractice client by the name of Fatima. While we care about all our clients, Fatima's story struck us.

Around 2014, Fatima's primary care doctor started noticing abnormalities in her blood work and urine results but negligently refused to refer her to a specialist. Meantime, the Florida medical practice where Fatima was a medical patient was closed down.

As the practice had multiple locations, she started seeing another medical professional in a different location. Once this doctor saw her results, he referred her to a cardiologist, and from there, the cardiologist referred her to a nephrologist (kidney doctor).

That's when Fatima finally had a diagnosis and found out she had total kidney failure or end-stage renal disease due to lupus and that she needed dialysis. Fatima is currently having dialysis treatment and will have to keep doing dialysis until she gets a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, lupus is an autoimmune disease for which there is no cure yet. The danger is that the disease may start to become active again and attack the new kidney even after a kidney transplant. Most people can expect a transplant to last a decade or more, but they may need to get dialysis and another kidney transplant down the line.

As the saying goes, "Timing is everything." The danger of lupus can range from light to severe. Early diagnosis, the right medication, and proper medical treatment can keep the disease in a chronic but manageable phase so it does not progress to end-stage renal disease. After finding out her diagnosis, Fatima decided she wanted to go forward with a medical malpractice lawsuit for her initial doctors' failure to diagnose her condition and failure to do their due diligence.

Lupus Misdiagnosis

In the most severe cases of lupus nephritis, the kidneys may fail, and the patient will need dialysis or a kidney transplant. Lupus is more common in women ages 15-50, and lupus nephritis mostly impacts and is more severe in African Americans and Hispanics. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of lupus is not uncommon because many of its warning signs and symptoms could be attributed to other diseases, such as Lyme disease or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Getting the proper medications and procedures for any disease starts with getting an accurate and timely diagnosis that identifies the condition you have. When a doctor gets your illness wrong:

  • Treatment is delayed, which may make the disease less easily treated and more severe once it is caught
  • You may additionally be harmed by the ineffective or unnecessary treatment you receive

Healthcare is complex, but many medical errors are prevented when providers follow proper procedures. If you or a family member have been injured and suspect medical negligence, you can protect your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Our medical malpractice attorney can pursue compensation for the damages suffered as a result of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

Dialysis and Kidney Transplant for End-Stage Renal Disease

In the United States, millions suffer from the symptoms of kidney disease. Due to the subtle nature of many symptoms, for some patients, the cause of kidney disease is never correctly determined, and many live with the disease for many years without knowing it.

Understanding your rights as a patient is critical, as well as information about different dialysis modalities and how health insurance works:

  • Insured patients typically receive dialysis three times a week. However, uninsured ones do not get access to ongoing treatment and rely only on emergency dialysis provided in a hospital's emergency department, which is associated with higher mortality rates and care costs.
  • You are entitled to make choices about your treatments and learn about tests and treatment options, as well as the right to refuse care.
  • You have the right to choose your dialysis provider while expressing your concerns and making complaints against health care services.
  • You can choose the health care plans that work best for you and be informed in advance of the provided services and charges incurred.

Examining your options helps you determine the available compensation for damages stemming from medical malpractice.

Lack Of Testing Or Late Referral for Kidney Disease

If doctors would test and refer people who suffer the ill effects of kidney disease to specialists as early as possible, many of them would be much healthier. Urine tests and possibly a biopsy in the early stages can lead to an accurate diagnosis and a correct treatment.

General practitioners are mostly not trained or equipped to treat kidney disease, so when tests indicate kidney abnormalities, failing to refer the patient to a kidney specialist may be medical negligence. Kidney doctors test and treat most of their patients on the basis of referrals from general practitioners.

With the proper approach, kidney diseases can usually be stopped at the chronic stage and sometimes reversed. That is why a negligent treatment that involves kidney disease puts lives at risk.

When it comes to dealing with a failure to issue a referral, medical malpractice claims are made when these situations occur:

  • Poor examination resulting in a failure to order diagnostic tests, or a failure to recognize a serious injury
  • Poor overall evaluation of symptoms
  • Development or worsening of injuries or illnesses as the result of a failure to refer
  • Misdiagnosis of a condition, an error that would not have happened if the case was in the hands of a specialist

Contact Sean Cleary, Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you, or a close family member, experienced kidney failure or advanced kidney disease and suspect you have been harmed by medical negligence, you can bring a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.

When you suspect medical negligence made your condition worse, you should talk to an attorney. An experienced lawyer can investigate if medical malpractice played a role by reviewing your medical records with the assistance of a doctor.

Damage to the kidneys is always serious, and The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary only handles severe medical malpractice cases. We are a firm that pays special attention to clients.

That's how we can prove your case to a jury when needed. We recover six-figure sums, but every case is different, and we cannot guarantee results. We can, however, promise that we will thoroughly gather evidence and strategically plan your case.

You can recover compensation for:

  • Further treatment costs: Medical costs, dialysis, medications - When a patient is not referred to a specialist, an injury or illness could become worse and require additional treatment. This cost can be included in an injury compensation claim.
  • Loss of income: Lost wages, lost earning potential - A patient may be required to take additional time off work to receive treatment.
  • Pain and suffering and other expenses - A great deal of pain can cause much distress for both the patient and their family.

If your doctor failed to test for kidney disease properly or to refer you to a specialist when that was the reasonable thing to do, schedule a free consultation by calling us or using our contact page. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, our experienced lawyer is here to provide you with the legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve for the damage to your health.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.