Do I have a case if my husband was misdiagnosed and almost died?

UPDATED: Apr 19, 2012

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Do I have a case if my husband was misdiagnosed and almost died?

In the early morning hours my husband was seen at the local ER with a severe headache. He was diagnosed with an earache. They gave him one antibiotic pill and a shot of demerol and sent him home. However 3 hours later he was unresponsive and I called an ambulance. He was transported to a larger area hospital. There he was diagnosed with a severe case of spinal meningitis. He stayed almost 2 weeks in CCU. He had seizures because of his illness which in turn effected his right side. He now suffers from mental confusion and right side weakness.

Asked on April 19, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have a claim--the issue is whether the misdiagnosis was reasonable or not. The law does not expect or require doctors, hospitals, and other medical care providers to be perfect; medicine is still more of an art than a science, and sometimes the care providers do everything right but the patient still suffers. The issue is whether the medical personnel provided care that met accepted standards for medical care; that is, did they run the tests that they should have, under the circumstances? Was the conclusion they came to reasonable, given the symptoms? Were they adequately trained and using the right equipment? Etc.

If the medical personnel did what was reasonably expected of them, with the accepted level of skill or care, then there most likely was no malpractice. But if they were careless; if they ignored warning signs or didn't run tests normally considered standard or prudent; if they were in a hurry and didn't pay as much attention as they should--if anything like that happened, and they missed a diagnosis they should have made, that could be malpractice.

It can be difficult for the lay person to determine if and when there is malpractice. A good idea would be to meet with experienced medical malpractice counsel; a lawyer who practices in this area can review all the facts in detail and advise you as whether you may have a case or not. If malpractice was committed, you can potentially recover all actual and projected future medical costs and lost wages, plus pain and suffering--it could be a considerable sum of money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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