When Maryland resident Gary Stern went to the hospital with terrible pains
in his abdominal region, he expected to be treated accordingly. After
all, experts in the medical field have peoples’ lives resting in
their hands on a regular basis and cannot make a mistake, no matter how
long of hours they work. It is truly unfortunate and largely unacceptable,
then, that his pains were misdiagnosed to be a symptom of his Crohn’s
disease and not what they really were: a perforated ulcer.
As Stern’s symptoms progressed, he had to revisit the hospital later
on, only to have the true source of his pain discovered. By that point,
the damage was severe and he ultimately had to go through a dozen surgical
procedures over the course of three years to correct it. Had the ulcers
been identified the first time he came in, there might have been much
less trauma to him. So what happened?
Diagnosing a Misdiagnosis
In order to peg a doctor’s actions as actual
negligence and a true misdiagnosis, the situation needs careful and thorough analysis.
It must be shown that
A) a trusting and professional relationship existed between the patient and
B) proper treatment was not given in a reasonable manner, and
C) the lack of proper treatment directly resulted in injury or worsening
of a current injury.
But doctor negligence isn’t quite making a mistake while on the clock.
It needs to be shown that what the doctor did was outside normal, accepted,
or rational procedures. This can be established through studying a differential
diagnosis, or the process of analyzing symptoms more than once to determine
if it stems from one condition or another similar yet different condition.
A doctor can be found negligent if they do not:
- Use a preliminary evaluation.
- Create an ordered list of possible conditions.
- Test any proposed diagnosis method.
- Order relevant tests or confer with more experts.
- Research the patient’s medical history.
- Use properly calibrated equipment.
Some Good News at the End
In Mr. Stern’s case, it was eventually determined by a jury that
his doctors did, indeed, operate under
medical malpractice and subsequently caused him serious harm. Ultimately, he was rewarded
$15 million to cover his medical expenses, as well as an additional $695,000
in other damages, which is the damage cap in Maryland.
Not all cases conclude with the patient receiving proper compensation,
though. There are numerous examples of negligent medical professionals
not being held liable for their reckless behaviors. If you or a loved
one have been hurt by medical malpractice, you can increase your chances
of securing the maximum compensation you deserve by calling
301.804.2312 and speaking to our Waldorf
personal injury attorneys from the Law Office of Robert R. Castro, P.A. We can hear your
story and determine your options in a
free initial consultation, so be sure to
contact us today!