The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

Big verdict in Pennsylvania failure to diagnose case

One of the more common types of medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania is failure to diagnose an illness or disorder. When a medical professional overlooks symptoms or makes an error in reading the results of a test, the consequences for a patient can be dire. If the disease or malady is progressive, the medical error can sometimes be fatal. Even if the patient ultimately survives, their quality of life can be forever affected by the medical malpractice that resulted in the failure to diagnose.

In a verdict handed down this month, a Pennsylvania jury awarded $3.4 million to a patient whose heart disorder went undiagnosed for two years after a cardiologist misread the results of a test. The fault was apportioned between the doctor, who was found to be more culpable, and the hospital where the tests were performed. The doctor had subsequently died of cancer and his estate had settled with the plaintiff before the trial occurred.

After the failure to diagnose, the patient's heart condition worsened considerably. When he returned for tests two years later, a different cardiologist found significant abnormalities in the results. A doctor examining the patient's file noticed that the test from two years earlier had also disclosed abnormalities but that the prior cardiologist had reported the results to be in the "normal" range.

Unfortunately, while the settlement will help compensate for some of the patient's financial burdens in this case, it will not go very far in alleviating the long-term health consequences that resulted from the two-year delay in treatment. Anyone who has been injured by the misdeeds of a medical professional should seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, like those at The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller. A seasoned lawyer can assess the case and advise on how best to proceed.

Source: The Citizens' Voice, "Jury awards $3.4M verdict in hospital negligence case," James Halpin, March 8, 2018

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