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Hospital emergency rooms in Massachusetts and across the country have routines and procedures they are used to following. A triage system is used to determine the severity of a patient’s symptoms, vital signs are taken and some patients will receive basic blood work. One family in another state claims that their daughter did not receive some of the most basic standards of care and filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital. A jury recently agreed with the family’s claims that the hospital was at fault for failure to diagnose and awarded the family $3.3 million.

The family’s 23-year-old daughter was suffering severe shortness of breath, prompting a trip to the emergency room. According to records, she suffered from lupus, which is an autoimmune disease that can cause a multitude of symptoms. Shortness of breath is sometimes a symptom, but the family claims that the patient was suffering more than normal. The patient was seen and discharged to home.

The young woman continued to worsen and returned to the emergency room 32 hours later. On the second visit, emergency room physicians ordered a Complete Blood Count test (CBC), which revealed that the patient was suffering from a fatal blood disorder. Unfortunately, the test was not ordered on her first visit, and the family claimed that an earlier test could have prevented their daughter’s death. Sadly, the girl did not survive.

Trusting a loved one’s life in the hands of a medical professional is something many have to face in the course of a lifetime. It is understandably difficult to cope with a death that may have resulted from a failure to diagnose a loved one properly or in a timely manner. Massachusetts medical malpractice attorneys can review a patient’s case and advise a family of their legal options.