Failure to Diagnose Leaves 15 year-old Permanently Injured
On August 15, 2005, 7-year-old A.S. was accompanied by her mother to the Greater Lowell Pediatric Center after headaches and other suspicious symptoms. The doctor who saw he, Dr. M.L., send her home with some allergy medicine and a “headache diary.” 48 hours later, the young, seemingly healthy girl was back in suffering from severe viral meningitis. While the girl survived, she is left with irreparable brain damage rendering her unable to develop beyond the cognitive abilities of a 3-year-old.
Eight years after the incident took place, the girl’s mother is suing the doctor who initially treated her daughter on the August 12 visit, claiming there was a failure to diagnose her daughter’s symptoms correctly. During a testimony by a life-care planning expert, it was estimated that the cost of providing the young girl with assistance at home or in a group home would range from $85,000 to $130,000 per year.
The defense is persistence that no malpractice or misdiagnosis took place. The attorney representing the doctor has claimed that an expert in pediatric infectious diseases will testify that the diagnosed condition, viral meningoencephalitis, has no curable treatment. The defense argues that supportive measures or earlier diagnosis would not have had effect on the outcome of the girl’s condition. The girl’s mother is unconvinced. Intense cross-examination of the doctor under question revealed that the condition had been one of the possible reasons for the girl’s symptoms, which included headache, sore neck and fever. The doctor’s notes on the visit stated that there was no evidence or reasonable suspicion for viral meningitis. The only test available for viral meningitis is the lumbar puncture, which the doctor claims she would have ordered if she had reasonable suspicion that the girl may have viral meningitis. The Massachusetts trial is still ongoing, as is investigation into the incident, and the jury has yet to decide if malpractice was the reason the girl was this damaged by the virus.
While it is unclear whether the doctor had a part in causing the permanent damage to the girl’s brain by failing to diagnose her condition at an earlier time, the family and friends of A.S. are devastated at the loss of their dear loved one. Not only is her family burdened with the steep medical costs that accompany permanent brain injury but the emotional cost of losing a loved one is overwhelming by itself. If you or someone you know has suffered injury due to the negligence of a medical professional, you may be entitled to pursue compensation intended to aid in your recovery. Contact an NYC personal injury attorney at Greenberg & Stein, P.C. to learn more.