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Physicians spend years in school honing their craft. They also likely spend a good amount of money on their education, through which they learn how to diagnose and treat patients. North Adams residents who seek medical help trust that their doctors will make the right call. When a physician overlooks symptoms or fails to diagnose an issue, they can do much more harm than good.

In 2011, a woman was at a hospital with a myriad of issues, including an increased heart rate, fever, chills and a headache, according to a court complaint. The patient had complained about strep throat and, according to the document, had a high risk of infection. When doctors failed to test her and treat her appropriately, the consequences were grave.

The woman died of septic shock, multi-organ system failure and respiratory failure on the same day as one of her two visits to the hospital. An attorney for the woman’s relative argued that physicians released the patient before they knew she had fatal bacteria in her body. The complaint states that one of the defendants failed to order a gram stain on a STAT basis and negligently failed to test the patient for strep throat.

While it is hard to believe that doctors can miss the signs of a deadly situation, unfortunately, they sometimes do. In this instance, the relative of the deceased blames the negligent physicians for the woman’s death and for depriving them of her companionship, causing grief, sorrow and mental suffering. If the defendants are found responsible, the relative may stand to receive compensation for the incident. It is a good idea for anyone who feels they were affected by medical malpractice to seek legal help to build the strongest case possible.

Source: Madison Record, “Alton Memorial Hospital and Doctors Blamed for Failing to Diagnose Sepsis,” Kelly Holleran, Dec. 11, 2013