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Hospital denies that failure to diagnose led to woman's death

Illinois readers may have heard that the trial is underway in the case of an elderly woman who was admitted to a nursing home on the East Coast only to die two hours later. Her granddaughter claims that a failure to diagnose led to her death, which is why she filed the medical malpractice case. The hospital denies the allegations, and a physician recently testified on its behalf.

In fact, the hospital says that it cannot conclusively determine what caused the woman's sudden death. It is claimed that when she was cleared to be transferred to the nursing home, she was well enough to do so. According to hospital records, she was diagnosed with pneumonia on one occasion and sent home. The doctor recommended around-the-clock care, which the granddaughter provided.

However, the grandmother failed to get any better and was readmitted to the hospital. Allegedly, it was discovered the elderly woman was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) brought on by 39 years of smoking. Her granddaughter testified that she had never seen her smoke, nor was she aware of that diagnosis. Mention of COPD was intermittently made in the woman's medical records, but it was not mentioned when she was admitted with pneumonia. It is not yet known how the court will rule.

If an Illinois doctor fails to obtain an accurate medical and/or family history, a failure to diagnose the correct condition of a patient is possible. Proving that was the case could be problematic when the hospital will most likely have the means to fight the allegations. For this reason alone, it is inadvisable to attempt to file a medical malpractice claim without first seeking the advice and assistance of counsel.

Source: sunjournal.com, "Granddaughter, physician testify in medical malpractice trial", Donna Perry, Dec. 3, 2015

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A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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