It's a case that could have happened in any hospital, anywhere in the country. A young woman entered the hospital complaining of severe headaches. The headaches had lasted for almost two weeks and the use of over the counter medications like Tylenol were not helping ease the pain. The woman also noted that she was bruising easily. In a twist, the young woman was not a typical patient. She had just graduated medical school and was training to be a pediatrician.
The young doctor was admitted for care. Physicians treating the woman failed to take an adequate medical history. Medical histories involve a series of questions that can help give the treating physician some insight into possible causes of the injury. Because this step was not taken, her physician was unaware that the woman was using a hormonal vaginal ring form of contraception. This type of contraception is linked to an increased risk of clotting. In rare cases, a blood clot can develop and travel to the brain. When this happens, a patient will present symptoms like severe, persistent headaches and bruising. As a result, the lack of medical history likely contributed to the failure to properly diagnose the patient.
Building a medical malpractice case
The primary error made in the case above was a divergence from proper protocol when the medical history was not taken, followed by a lack of proper testing. One way to establish medical malpractice is to prove that a physician or medical professional failed to act in a way that is expected within the profession. In this situation, medical professionals across the nation are expected to ask certain questions and run certain tests. Had these steps been taken, the clot would likely have been spotted while the injury was still treatable.
Unfortunately, in this case, protocol was not followed. By the time the tests were complete, the damage connected to the clot had progressed. The patient was rushed to a nearby hospital that had a specialist who could remove the clot. By the time the patient arrived, the clot had caused irreversible damage. The patient died shortly after her transfer.
The patient's family likely has a medical malpractice claim. Here, the medical team deviated from generally accepted standards of care. Establishing cases like this commonly requires the use of expert testimony and a variety of evidence. As a result, those who experience similar injuries should contact an experienced failure to diagnose/misdiagnose attorney to discuss their case and better ensure any legal rights and remedies are protected.