A federal judge in a federal tort claims act case involving medical malpractice has ordered the U.S. government to pay $8.6 million in damages due to an air force base doctor’s misdiagnosis of flesh-eating bacteria. In 2002, the woman went to the base emergency room for pain and swelling in her right arm. Court documents say that the doctor believed the woman was an addict looking for prescription drugs and told her to go home and take Motrin. Weeks later, the woman was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis or flesh-eating bacteria. A bench trial was held in August. In a decision late last month, the judge faulted the doctor and wrote that the woman suffers continuous, debilitating pain. A copy of an article regarding the case can be found here.
I have successfully handled a number of medical malpractice / medical negligence / medical error cases in Baltimore and other counties in Maryland involving a failure to timely diagnose and treat infections. Cases against the U.S. government are always more difficult because they must be brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which means that they get tried before a judge and not a jury.