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Jury awards $2.4M in medical malpractice lawsuit

When patients check into a hospital, they expect the attendant doctors and nursing staff to review their symptoms and medical history in order to develop an accurate diagnosis and determine treatment. While the following example didn't take place in Washington, D.C., a medical malpractice suit in another jurisdiction was filed when a doctor failed to do just that. The doctor's excuse was that he doesn't have time to review everything about each patient admitted to the emergency room; clearly, though, the jury disagreed with him, finding both the physician and a nurse legally responsible when a patient died three days after being admitted into their care.

The 72-year-old man arrived at the E.R. complaining of weakness and rubbery legs. The doctor initially ordered him to be monitored on a telemetry floor, but when an attending physician instead had him placed on a regular medical floor, this oversight was never remedied. As the patient's weakness quickly progressed throughout his extremities, his arms and legs became paralyzed. Soon, the man was unable to use a telephone or even feed himself.

After three days, a nurse noted a spike in the patient's heart rate and blood pressure. When she reported this to the doctor, instead of personally examining his patient, the doctor ordered a cardiological consult. In the meantime, the patient's paralysis continued to progress, and by the next morning he was dead.

His death, the lawsuit argues, was entirely preventable. Testimony revealed that, had the patient been placed in an intensive care unit and monitored closely, the paralysis could have been halted by medication before it progressed to his lungs and heart, resulting in his death. The suit claims that the symptoms upon admittance were obvious signs of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $2.4 million in damages. Anyone in Washington, D.C. who has lost a loved one due to similar medical malpractice might benefit from consulting an attorney to explore legal options.

Source: dailybusinessreview.com, "Jury Awards $2.4M in Broward Medical Malpractice Case", Celia Ampel, Feb. 6, 2017

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