A Missouri medical malpractice lawsuit is scheduled for a jury trial in September 2013 for the disabling injuries and the substantial pain and suffering sustained by a 66-old-man who claims that a Missouri hospital emergency room failed to provide him required medical care because he did not have health insurance, noting in the records that the man was a “bad debt” because he was unemployed and did not have health insurance. The medical malpractice case alleges that as a result of improper and untimely medical treatment, the man had to endure four subsequent surgeries involving twenty two separate procedures that removed part of his buttocks and left leg and left the man disabled.
The man’s odyssey began on June 24, 2010 when he went to the emergency room of a Missouri hospital with complaints of “perirectal abscess and cellulitis.” The hospital emergency room physician noted in the man’s record that “the problem is severe,” with a pain level of 10 out of 10. As a result, the emergency room physician consulted with a surgeon over the telephone; the surgeon did not come to the emergency room to evaluate the man’s condition and the man was subsequently discharged from the emergency room after being given pain medication and antibiotics, with instructions to take sitz baths twice each day, rest at home, and to schedule an appointment for the following day with the surgeon who was consulted by telephone.
The man promptly called the surgeon’s office but was told that the earliest appointment was four days later. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the man required the four surgeries and other intensive treatments due to the delay in diagnosing and treating his necrotizing fasciitis (the flesh-eating bacteria) during his initial visit to the emergency room. His treatment required debridements (removal of the dead, infected skin), skin grafts, and a colostomy, all at a cost of almost $400,000.00.
The emergency room physician denies that the man had necrotizing fasciitis when he treated the man in the emergency room: “There was no necrotic skin anywhere on the patient when I saw him on June 24.” However, the man’s wife maintains that at the time the emergency room physician examined her husband, he identified a patch of black skin on the back of his leg and stated that it needed to be addressed by a surgeon.
The surgeon who was consulted by telephone but did not examine the man in the emergency room blames the man for the delay in being examined by a surgeon: “[The emergency room physician] and I discussed whether he had an abscess that needed to be drained on his buttock and felt that he did not. My opinion is that when [the man] started to see changes from his exam on the 24th that he should have sought treatment.”
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice experts allege that there were breaches of the applicable standards of care by failing to immediately order lab tests, by failing to obtain an X-ray, a CT scan, or ultrasound to determine the severity and extent of the man’s infection, and by failing to admit the man to the hospital from the emergency room and perform surgery within twenty-four hours, leading to the man’s severe, extensive, and disabling physical and emotional harms (including his inability to lift objects, sit or drive for long periods of time, and his inability to do yard work or perform household repairs).
If you or a loved one were misdiagnosed or mistreated in a hospital emergency room in Missouri or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Missouri medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may agree to investigate your potential medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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