Misdiagnosis: When Medical Errors Lead to Tragedy

July 23, 2012 | Crandall & Pera Law
Misdiagnosis: When Medical Errors Lead to Tragedy

Misdiagnosis of an illness, failure to diagnose and delay of a diagnosis continue to be prevalent medical errors that could prove to be harmful or fatal to a patient.

This was the case with 12-year-old Rory Staunton of New York. Two days after cutting his arm while playing basketball at his school gym, Rory's pediatrician's office sent him to the emergency room with symptoms of vomiting, fever and a pain in his leg, according to a recent article in The New York Times. He was given fluids and sent home with instructions to take Tylenol, a simple case of dehydration and an upset stomach, the doctors concluded.

"Partially camouflaged by ordinary childhood woes, Rory's condition was, in fact, already dire," writes Tom Dwyer. "Bacteria had gotten into his blood, probably through the cut on his arm. He was sliding into a septic crisis, an avalanche of immune responses to infection from which he would not escape." Rory died in the intensive care unit three nights later.

Vital signs, recorded while the family was still at the hospital, suggested Rory could be seriously ill. Three hours after Rory and his family were sent home from the ER, abnormal lab results warning of a possibility of sepsis were reported. The Stauntons were never notified with either of these facts.

"For every hour's delay in giving antibiotics after very low blood pressure [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][septic shock] had set in, a study found, the survival rate decreased by 7.6 percent," the Times article states.

Findings by Rory's pediatrician before being sent to the ER and the 3 of 8 possible sepsis symptoms he was displaying at the hospital were also largely ignored or not treated accordingly by his doctors.

"'Above all,' Ms. Staunton said, 'we know that Rory would not want no other child to go through what he went through.'" Read the full details here:

An Infection, Unnoticed, Turns Unstoppable

"Rory's death is unfortunately a tragedy I see several times a year when families call me to review their case," says Steve Crandall, a top-rated medical malpractice attorney throughout Ohio and Kentucky.

Crandall cites the sheer volume of patients seeking hospital care as a reason why ER care is so difficult, as many patients who may end up seeking further care are sent home due to the overwhelming numbers the staff and physicians face.

"However, here it is clear the physicians did not take the time to review Rory's abnormal vital signs and the lab did not report the critical results to re-contact Rory's family. This is a foreseeable and completely avoidable death. A true tragedy."

If you have any questions regarding medical malpractice throughout Ohio and Kentucky, contact Steve Crandall. Steve is available to help answer your  questions and guide you in determining your next steps.