Diagnostic tests such as x-rays and ultrasounds may only be as effective as those who are interpreting them, unfortunately, and when doctors fail to notice or diagnose conditions revealed by these tests, it can result in severe injuries. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC routinely seek compensation on behalf of clients for the medical attention, pain and suffering and out of pocket expenses resulting from these failed diagnoses. It is only reasonable to expect physicians to accurately identify injuries, medical conditions and other identifiable concerns when performing these expensive tests and you should not shoulder the bill for medical treatment associated with a failed diagnosis.
Critical Conditions Identified Through Imaging Scans
X-rays, ultrasounds and imaging scans allow us to do what was once impossible— look beyond the external surface of the body and identify injuries and areas of concern. From determining whether an athlete or accident victim has a broken bone to diagnosing the spread of an infection within the body, these tests are extremely useful. Some of the more serious concerns that can be identified through imaging scans include the following.
- Developmental problems throughout the course of pregnancy. It is important to identify risks and potential life threatening conditions throughout the course of pregnancy which could allow doctors to reduce the risk of birth defects or injuries at birth. For example, an ultrasound during labor can let doctors know that the umbilical cord has become wrapped around the child’s neck, resulting in an emergency response to save the child’s life and prevent brain damage.
- Internal wounds, bleeding or hemorrhaging. In the event that a patient is bleeding from within, the failure to locate the internal wound and provide treatment can result in severe damage to internal organs or death.
- Traumatic brain injuries. These types of injuries do not always present with symptoms initially and by the time patients do exhibit signs of an injury, the damage has become extensive. Following trauma to the head, it is always advisable to undergo testing for a TBI regardless of how you feel, as the early diagnosis of a brain injury leads to a much more favorable prognosis.
- Development or spread of cancer. The survival rate of cancer patients in early stages is exponentially higher than those whose cancer has progressed or spread to other areas of the body. Failure to diagnose cancer can become a death sentence, as most Stage IV cancers have survival rates under 20%.
Our Chicago misdiagnosis attorneys were alarmed to discover through a study conducted in the British Medical Journal that over 40,000 patients die yearly because their doctors failed to diagnosis their conditions. This is simply unacceptable and it is important that doctors take the time needed to examine and interpret the results of diagnostic tests so that their diagnosis can be accurate and treatment recommendations appropriate.
Doctors are not Solely Liable
If your doctor failed to diagnose your condition, it is important that you identify what went wrong and whose fault it is, not only so that you don’t seek compensation from the wrong party, but also to increase your chances of successfully recovering compensation. Before doctors are able to interpret test results, the tests must be administered and then handled by lab technicians who may commit errors of their own. While mistakes are to be expected out of human beings, it is reasonable to expect a lab to double check results and make sure that tests are performed properly prior to handing the tests off to your doctor. It is then up to your doctor to interpret the information properly and diagnose your injury or medical condition so that you may receive the proper treatment.
X-Ray and Ultrasound Malpractice Awards
$1,021,716 Verdict; Misread X-Ray Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The woman that brought this case was in her late fifties. She had several pre-existing conditions that weighed negatively on her health including diabetes. She saw a doctor for some of these issues. That doctor recommended an X-ray. The radiologist misread the results and did not identify a navicular fracture. That break was in her leg. Consequently, she kept walking around on it as if everything was fine. Eventually, she developed Charcot disease in the affected food. She sued the radiologist and imaging company. Her complaint complained that the defendants negligently misread her X-ray results which led to her fracture, pain, increased risk of pain and amputation as well as costs including over $20,000 in medical fees. The defendants pointed the blame back at her primary care physicians. They also replied that these issues were the result of her underlying conditions and had nothing to do with the services they rendered. Failing to compromise, the matter went to court. A jury determined that they had negligently misread her X-rays and treated her. They awarded the woman over $1 million.
$428,000 Verdict; Misread X-Ray Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The man who sued here saw a doctor after injuring his hand. The physician prescribed an X-ray. After taking that, the radiologist said he merely sprained the hand. The doctor put his hand in a splint and sent him home. Later tests confirmed though that he had broken the hand. This delay in diagnosis meant that surgery could not reunite the bone. Also, there was a deformity near the base of the hand as well as a collapsed space between the fingers which would go untreated. Additionally, he developed arthritis and will need rehab and surgery in the future as a result of the deficient treatment. The man sued the doctors involved in these events. He claimed their negligence caused his injuries, disability, and costs. The defendants replied that they rendered adequate service but that his problems preexisted these circumstances. In other words, they believed the arthritis was to blame and existed well before they consulted the plaintiff. This fact-intensive matter went before a jury. It found for the plaintiff. The $428,000 verdict was for lost normal life ($200,000), pain ($175,000), medical bills ($15,000), lost wages ($13,000), and disfigurement ($25,000).
$1,500,000 Settlement; Misread Ultrasound Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The patient involved her was a woman in her middle forties. Prior to the events which gave rise to this case, she had a knee replacement done on her left leg. A few months after that operation, she began to feel pain in the same leg. Doctors conducted an ultrasound. However, they did not see from that test that she had compartment syndrome. Also, they did not tell her doctor what was going on with the patient. All of these errors led to foot drop in her left leg. This happened even though she had already had thigh fasciotomy. She sued her medical providers after these developments. Her medical bills were almost $250,000. Her lost wages were almost $100,000. Plus, she still had the pain, discomfort, and disability in her left leg. The defendants could not justify the misread ultrasound. In the end, that meant they could not advance any real defense at trial. They settled with the woman for a reported $1.5 million.
$425,000 Settlement; Misread Ultrasound Malpractice; Winnebago County, Illinois
The doctor in this case misread the ultrasound results of a thirty-six year old woman. He incorrectly diagnosed that she had a tumor which would stop her from having a baby. He began to operate on her to correct the issue when he realized that she merely had adenomyosis. Adenomyosis is just an inflammatory condition. It does not prevent pregnancy. However, in the course of the operation, he scarred and damaged her uterine lining. This actually did prevent her from carrying a child and forced her to use a surrogate. She sued the doctor and the center where the treatment occurred. In a private settlement, her and her husband received $425,000 in compensation. About $120,000 of that amount was for medical bills and about $60,000 of that was for the surrogacy costs.
Give Us a Call to Hear how We can Help!
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are award winning attorneys who have represented thousands of patients across Illinois who suffered severe complications or injuries— all because their doctors couldn’t provide an accurate diagnosis. If you have been injured or someone you care about passed away due to a medical error of this magnitude, we will fight on your behalf to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation that you are entitled to for the cost of your medical treatment, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, rehabilitative therapy, long term care and pain and suffering.
Contact us right now to arrange a free consultation with one of our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys so that we can review your case, discuss your legal options and conduct an investigation into the matter to determine whether you have a solid case. Our lawyers work solely on a contingency basis, which means you are assured that you will never be required to remit payment upfront and if we fail to secure compensation on your behalf, we will waive our fee for our services and time.