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Lawsuit: Failure to diagnose boy's infection led to brain injury

Massachusetts health professionals attend years of schooling to ensure they are able to make prompt, accurate diagnoses and get patients the treatment they need. That is what they are paid for, after all, as a delay in accurately diagnosing an illness often means irreversible damage. In another state, for example, a group of doctors' failure to diagnose a child's illness tragically resulted in permanent brain damage.

According to the lawsuit filed by the boy's mother, a 5-year-old lost brain function after a severe sinus infection spread to his brain when doctors failed to diagnose and treat it. The complaint claims that the doctors on staff at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center were distracted by the fact that the child had recently suffered a bump on his head in a fall. They repeatedly sent him home with instructions to dose him with pain medication.

Even after the child's mother sought treatment for the boy for a third time when he began suffering seizures, doctors did not diagnose the sinus infection, despite the fact that he had developed a fever. A fever is a symptom associated with infections, not -- under normal circumstances -- head injuries from falls. Additionally, the boy's forehead swelling decreased, yet his symptoms continued to worsen, all clear markers of an infection, the complaint argues.

The lawsuit alleges that, had the doctors performed and examination and taken note of these symptoms instead of focusing on the child's fall, they could have prescribed antibiotics that could have saved him. Instead, the undiagnosed infection spread into the young boy's brain, causing him to lose sight in one of his eyes and resulting in permanent brain damage. The boy will never be able to live on his own and will likely need care for the rest of his life. Typically, in successfully litigated medical malpractice lawsuits involving brain injury, any damages awarded go toward the extensive care and medical treatment the victims require. For Massachusetts individuals or families who have suffered similarly due to a negligent doctor's failure to diagnose an illness, there are professional legal resources within their own state to offer counsel and guidance for pursuing just compensation.

Source: santafenewmexican.com, "Mother takes doctors to court after son suffered brain damage", Phaedra Haywood, Nov. 28, 2017

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