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Failure to diagnose can have lifelong repercussions for patients

When Illinois residents to go see a doctor, they expect to find out what is ailing them and be put on a course of treatment that will provide them with relief. Unfortunately, many patients find themselves in a situation where a failure to diagnose the correct condition results in repeat visits to the doctor. If it takes too long to come to the appropriate diagnosis, the patient could suffer lifelong repercussions.

An out-of-state couple is claiming that a doctor's failure to find the blood clots in her system cost her the normal use of her left arm and hand for the rest of her life. On Nov. 18, 2013, a colonoscopy was performed on the woman. A couple of days later, she went to the doctor because she was experiencing pain, stinging and redness in her left arm and hand. At that time, the doctor said that she had an allergic reaction to the IV used during the procedure and possibly neuralgia, which is a nerve condition that normally causes intermittent, but intense, pain in the face and head.

The West Virginia couple alleges that this diagnosis was incorrect. On Dec. 2, 2013, she again went to the same doctor because her pain was worse. An appointment was made with an orthopedic surgeon for Jan. 6, 2014, but the woman was concerned that might not be soon enough; however, the doctor said there was no rush. She returned on Dec. 10, 2013 and Dec. 26, 2013. The doctor still failed to reach the correct diagnosis, which was blood clots.

Unfortunately, this woman's plight is not necessarily unique. Residents here in Illinois might be able to understand the frustration and fear this couple went through before the blood clots were finally found. A continuous failure to diagnose one patient's condition could be an indication of a more widespread failure to meet accepted standards of care by a particular physician. These doctors need to be held responsible for their actions because next time, a patient could die.

Source:, "Couple sues WVU Hospitals for failure to diagnose blood clots", Kyla Asbury, June 20, 2016

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Q: What is medical malpractice?

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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