We might expect that doctors, when they need medical treatment, would be especially safe in the care of other doctors. However, a recent Pennsylvania lawsuit claims that a young woman newly graduated from medical school did not receive timely treatment for a blood clot that was described as "easily diagnosable, treatable and entirely correctable."
The 26-year-old had recently graduated from Commonwealth Medical College when she began experiencing headaches and bruising. These symptoms persisted for 10 days, and she was eventually admitted to a hospital in Luzerne County. The events that ensued are the subject of a medical malpractice lawsuit brought by the woman's parents.
The suit claims that while the woman's condition quickly deteriorated, doctors waited 40 hours before taking these basic medical precautions:
- Checking for any life-threatening ailments
- Ordering a head scan, such as a CT scan
- Having the patient see a neurologist
Eventually, doctors detected the blood clot and administered anti-clotting drugs, but according to the lawsuit, by then the patient had already suffered irreversible neurological damage. The young woman died after being taken off of life support at the Danville hospital where she was supposed to start her medical residency.
The parents have sued for medical negligence. The suit seeks damages that include the deceased young doctor's estimated future earnings.
Failure to diagnose is a common form of medical negligence that can obviously have devastating consequences. However, proving medical negligence is a complex matter, even when a doctor or hospital is clearly at fault for a patient's injuries or death. Hospitals, doctors and their insurers fight vigorously to reduce their liability in these cases, and Pennsylvania residents who have suffered because of medical negligence deserve equally aggressive representation.
Source: The Times-Tribune, "Lawsuit: Negligence in death of young doctor," Bob Kalinowski, Jan. 9, 2014