Failure to Diagnose a Blood Clot Leads to an Amputation

July 6, 2017 | Crandall & Pera Law
Failure to Diagnose a Blood Clot Leads to an Amputation

When she was just 18-years-old, Ms. Schneider saw Dr. Huribal for pain in her left leg, but the doctor failed to diagnose the blood clot that was causing the pain. When the pain grew worse, Schneider went to Griffin Hospital, where she was also sent home because the doctors there also failed to diagnose the blood clot. Her condition deteriorated quickly and she was rushed to the hospital, where doctors concluded that nothing could be done to save the leg, so it had to be amputated.

Ms. Schneider filed a lawsuit against Dr. Huribal and the Southern Connecticut Vascular Center for medical negligence. A CT Superior Court jury awarded her $25 million. Schneider had already settled with Griffin hospital for an undisclosed amount according to a story in the CT Post.

Diagnostic errors and medical malpractice

While there have been efforts within the health care community to improve patient safety, diagnostic errors have not received the same amount of attention and focus despite how common they are. A Harvard Medical Practice Study reported that diagnostic error accounted for 17% of preventable medical errors, and a systematic review of autopsies covering four decades reveals that about 9% of patients had experienced a major diagnostic error that went undetected while the patient was alive. (Patient Safety Network of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality AHRQ).

Proving medical malpractice

In Ms. Schneider’s case, the diagnostic error was clear. Two physicians who examined her missed the blood clot resulting in the amputation of her leg, but it was not difficult to draw a line of causation between the doctor’s failure to diagnose the blood clot and the injury. That is not always the case for others.

To prove medical negligence, the plaintiff must have evidence that proves first that a doctor-patient relationship existed, and that the doctor’s actions or failure to act was a breach of the accepted standard of care for that specialty. The plaintiff must then be able to show how the breach caused the injury, and the damages resulting from the injury. A medical expert investigates the incident and provides testimony on how the doctor’s actions were negligent.

Ms. Schneider would probably be happy to give back the millions of dollars she will receive because of her doctor’s negligence to have her own leg back. Taking legal action against those who caused your injury hopefully inspires a change that ensures that the same mistake is never repeated.

Crandall & Pera Law is a premier medical malpractice law firm serving clients throughout Ohio and Kentucky. If your medical malpractice was the cause of your injury, you are encouraged to call our medical malpractice attorneys at 877-686-8879 in Ohio and 877-686-8879 in Kentucky. You may also schedule a free consultation through our contact form. We take cases on a contingency fee basis.