Medical errors unfortunately happen every day. Surgical complications or errors, misdiagnosis and the precribing of an incorrect medication are just some of the common problems that lead to a medical malpractice case. Sometimes, the crux of the problem is actually as simple as proper communication between medical staff, whether at the same facility or between offices and locations.
A Brooklyn woman died as a result of exactly this type of situation where her x-ray results were not communicated to doctors. The woman initially visited the emergency room at Kings County Hospital complaining of chest pains. And x-ray was taken but she was sent home and instructed to take Motrin to control what was said to be a muscle spasm. More than two years later, after continued symptoms, it was discovered that the original x-ray showed a mass in the lung area that doctors were never informed of. The mass was lung cancer.
Because New York State has a 15 month statute of limitations on medical negligence cases and that the the error was found more than 15 months after it happened, the woman was awarded damages far less than she would have been otherwise. A state investigation revealed that the hospital was negligent and lacking propery policies for communicating test results to doctors. The hospital has since instituted new requirements for informing doctors of x-ray or other results.
Patients have the right to see all test results and other medical records and they also have the right to receive the best care. If you believe you have been subject to a medical error, you may consider speaking to an attorney to learn the best options for you.
Source: NY Daily News, “Lavern Wilkinon lives on through Brooklyn hospital change after cancer death” Heidi Evans, July 30, 2013