A South Carolina jury has awarded $3 million in a medical malpractice case to the family of a 25-year-old woman who died after medical treatment in 2002. The woman died from an infection due to a kidney stone. After the treatment at a local emergency room, the woman was discharged and due to check-up with a urologist the following Monday. However, before she could see the doctor, she died from an infection. The jury found that the emergency room and hospital did not meet the standard of care when they failed to take appropriate vital signs and perform basic testing, which would have resulted in proper diagnosis and treatment of the infection. A copy of an article regarding the case can be found here.
This sounds like a very good case. It is important for all health care providers to obtain baseline vital signs on a patient and perform reasonable tests that can diagnose serious problems that are likely. In this case, the doctors diagnosed a kidney stone but did not do the routine blood testing that would have revealed that the woman actually was very sick. Instead, she was sent home with the false assurance that she could wait a few days to be seen. It is tragic.
As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled many medical malpractice cases failure to timely perform appropriate medical tests that would have revealed a serious illness. It is always a shame when a simple and routine test is not performed, resulting in a serious injury or death.