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The Correct Diagnosis May Save a Life

Mellino Law Firm

Being a doctor means also being human. Humans unfortunately do make mistakes.

The problem with doctors making mistakes, even though they are human, is that their mistakes may have very serious ramifications to a patient; serious enough to alter or take their lives. This is, by and large, the major reason why “failure to diagnose” lawsuits are quite common. If there was injury to a patient, that doctor could be found guilty of medical malpractice in court later thanks to a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.

Typically, most failure to diagnose med mal suits are the result of the physician not correctly diagnosing a disease; something that moves fast and may have drastic consequences, like necrotizing fasciitis or meningitis. Necrotizing fasciitis can look and mimic cellulitis and meningitis, being the sneaky disease that it is, and can manifest in two ways: bacterial or viral meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis and necrotizing fasciitis move fast, take no prisoners and leave behind a body in shock. Some survive, some do not. The vast majority of med mal lawsuits that involved failure to diagnose usually involve bacterial meningitis; a distinction made quite clear at trial by a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.

To combat the bacterial version of this inflammatory disease of the membranes protecting the spinal cord and brain, medical personnel have to differentiate what they are dealing with fast, and hit it hard, to avoid the patient sustaining permanent injuries. Put another way; time is of the essence.

There is only one way to truly identify what type of meningitis a doctor is dealing with and that is to perform a spinal tap and send the fluid to the lab for testing. While the signs and symptoms may be signals of what the doctor is dealing with, the tests need to be done in order to accurately pin down a correct diagnosis.

Those red flags for a doctor are a severe headache, high fever, inability to handle bright light or loud noises and the inability to flex the neck forward. However, without the tests, the treatment prescribed may not work and the patient will be behind the eight ball, having lost several days to the wrong treatment for the wrong type of meningitis.

There is a narrow line in the diagnostic process when dealing with the possibility of meningitis that doctors must cross to get an accurate picture of what type of disease is ravaging their patient. That line is to err on the side of caution and call for tests. Not having those tests may ultimately result in the doctor being sued for medical malpractice later.

If someone you love or you have been in a difficult situation like this, then speak to a well qualified Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer. It is one call that you will be glad that you made.


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