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Did a failure to diagnose lead to a mother's death?

Oregon residents rely on emergency room doctors to quickly and correctly diagnose their conditions or to seek additional advice if a diagnosis cannot be made readily. This is what a family from another state relied upon back in 2013 when they say a failure to diagnose bleeding on a woman's brain led to her death. On Dec. 14, 2013, the wife and mother of two children suffered what appeared to be a seizure while at home.

She was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment. Doctors diagnosed her with a migraine and a sinus infection, gave her medicine and sent her home. Her husband now claims that a failure to diagnose her condition properly led to her death.

In fact, she was declared brain-dead just hours after that first trip to the emergency room. Once she arrived home after the first seizure, she suffered from a second one. While being transported to a different hospital, she suffered a third and final seizure. Her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support and let her die the next day.

In a recently filed lawsuit, her husband alleges that a CT scan performed during the first emergency room visit clearly showed that his wife was suffering from bleeding on her brain. It is alleged that if a doctor had reviewed the film, that would have been obvious. Further, her symptoms during the first ER visit should have alerted medical personnel that there was something more wrong with her than just a migraine and sinus infection. If a Texas court rules that these allegations are correct, the victim's husband could receive a monetary judgment similar to one that would be awarded here in Oregon under these circumstances.

A doctor's failure to diagnose an illness or injury correctly could have life-threatening ramifications. Patients and the medical industry alike expect a certain standard of care from physicians, and when it is not met, it could constitute medical malpractice. Not only could a court's determination of negligence result in monetary restitution, but could also help prevent another individual and family from having the same experience.

Source: CBS DFW, "Family Of Fort Worth Mom Sues Hospital For Medical Malpractice", Jennifer Lindgren, July 6, 2015

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