While we cannot expect our doctors to perform miracles or understand every single health condition that exists, we do expect them to properly diagnose a patient when obvious symptoms of a condition are present. Doctors, like all other health care professionals, undergo an extensive amount of training to ensure they are able to provide the proper care to those seeking it.
Now, because doctors are just like any other person aside from their title, they do make mistakes. Some of these mistakes are just that, an unintentional error that could happen under the care of any doctor. Other mistakes, however, happen on account of a doctor’s negligent actions. For example, if a physician were to nick an artery while performing surgery which caused a patient to suffer a severe medical condition, that doctor could be accused of negligence.
A doctor could also be accused of medical negligence if he/she, aware of a patient’s allergies, prescribed medication to them that contained an ingredient they were allergic to which resulted in the patient being harmed.
South Carolina Family Sues Prisma Health-Upstate After a Misdiagnosis is Attributed to Their Son’s Death
Aside from the errors listed above, doctors can also be held liable if they misdiagnose a patient. A South Carolina family recently filed suit for this very reason after their 12-year-old son died of bacterial meningitis on February 1, 2017 [Source: Greenville News]. The family of William Thompson IV is suing Prisma Health-Upstate claiming “healthcare providers were careless, negligent, and reckless in how they treated and diagnosed their son.”
William first fell ill on January 25, 2017, and was experiencing neck pain, a lingering headache, nausea, and decreased appetite. He was treated by his pediatrician, but his symptoms continued to worsen which prompted the family to take him to Greenville Memorial Hospital’s emergency room. His fever had risen to 102 degrees and among the symptoms he was experiencing, he also began to suffer from blurry vision.
The doctors at the hospital advised William to “rest, drink fluids, and take a Motrin and Tylenol.” After two days had passed, William’s parents had him back in the hospital after his mother found him unresponsive. The news source says that the tests performed in the hospital found streptococcal pneumonia bacteria in his white blood cells. William later passed away from the illness and it was confirmed that he had contracted bacterial meningitis.
Doctor Provides Affidavit to be Filed with the Family’s Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
While the family had gathered evidence to prove the healthcare staff was negligent, they also included with their lawsuit an affidavit provided by Dr. William Bonadio, a physician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. In the affidavit, Dr. Bonadio stated that he “routinely examined and treats patients similar to William” and that he believes Prisma Health “deviated from the standard of care in their treatment of Mr. Thompson.”
In the affidavit, Dr. Bonadio explained that the “medical staff failed to follow systemic inflammatory response syndrome protocol when William met three of the four criteria—fever of 102 degrees, heart rate of 123, and respiratory rate of 24.” William was never given a sinus exam or swabbed for flu or strep nor did he receive the treatment he should have. Had William been provided with antibiotics when he was initially seen, “it would have prevented the infection from spreading to his brain.”
The family is now seeking damages “in an amount to be determined by the court for ongoing grief” as well as compensation for funeral costs and other related expenses.
When a Health Care Professional Deviates from the Standard Level of Care
To answer the initial question, “Can I sue a hospital and/or physician in South Carolina for a misdiagnosis,” the answer is yes, although you will need to prove that the doctor deviated from the standard level of care and that deviation caused you harm. Consider this, if you had gone to another physician for the same type of treatment you received from the initial physician you believe made a mistake, could that same mistake have happened while seeking treatment elsewhere? If it could, then it may be difficult to hold the physician accountable for the error.
However, if you were to seek treatment from a different doctor other than the one you are claiming misdiagnosed you and the chances of that error occurring were highly unlikely to occur, then you may have a viable claim. In any event, you must speak with one of our skilled Columbia, SC medical malpractice attorneys to find out if your particular circumstances qualify you to file suit against a hospital, physician, or both. Proving medical malpractice can be tricky especially with the laws that are set into place to protect healthcare workers and facilities from being sued.
Therefore, if you think you have a valid medical malpractice case against a Columbia, SC doctor, contact Louthian Law Firm, P.A. to schedule an initial consultation with one of our helpful medical malpractice lawyers.
Louthian Law Firm, P.A. can be reached at:
1116 Blanding Street, #3A
Columbia, SC 29201
Bert Louthian has been practicing law in Columbia with his father, Herb, since 1985. After receiving his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina, Bert launched his legal career in his father’s firm. With 80 years of legal experience between them, Louthian Law, P.A. remains Family-Owned and Family-Focused.
Bert understands that when life goes wrong – when you or someone you love gets hurt or suffers a loss, it can feel like nothing will ever be right or fair again. He gets up and goes to work every day to prove that feeling wrong – and does everything in his power to make things right again.