Physicians use several tools to diagnose a patient, which may include a patient’s information of symptoms, blood tests, physical exam and imaging tests. When there is a failure to diagnose a patient adequately and quickly, a patient’s quality of life may be impacted. Massachusetts’s readers may be interested in one woman’s legal battle with a hospital who failed to diagnose her for a year, and she now requires around the clock care.
The now 26-year-old woman visited the hospital when she was in college for unsettling symptoms that included a neurological hand tremor. Despite the tremor, the patient claims that physicians insisted that she was only suffering from anxiety and depression. As her symptoms progressed, the previously active college student began struggling with some of life’s basic tasks such as smiling, talking, writing, seeing and cutting her food. After her mother persisted by insisting that further tests be performed, an MRI revealed that the woman was likely suffering from Wilson’s disease, which results in the accumulation of copper in the brain and other vital organs.
Because the hospital failed to diagnose her earlier, the woman filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against it. Approximately one year ago, she was awarded a $28 million judgment, and the majority of the money was to be spent on her necessary future medical care. She has not received any of the funds due to a disagreement between the two parties on how she should be paid, and the case is being appealed by the hospital. The hospital wants to make the payments over a period of 58 years with some interest, but the woman’s attorneys are arguing that the proposed extended payment plan will not provide the needed funds for her medical care.
A failure to diagnose a patient in a timely manner can result in significant consequences for some patients. If a patient suffers permanent disabilities such as this patient, patients and families may be burdened by continued never-ending medical care and expenses. Patients who suspect they may have suffered similar medical negligence in Massachusetts may benefit from discussing their case with a local medical malpractice attorney.