An out-of-state hospital failed to perform a rapid strep test—standard safety protocol at hospitals when patients are suspected of having an infection—when a six-year-old boy came in with a fever, swollen tonsils, and unexplained hip pain. Initially, doctors diagnosed the boy with a hip strain and nasal congestion and began treatment for those conditions, then discharged him. However, the boy’s fever continued to rise as the infection worsened.
Hours later the boy’s parents realized something was really wrong and rushed him back to the hospital and that is finally when the hospital did the strep test and diagnosed him with a massive infection. At this point the infection was so bad it had began to destroy the child’s organ and ultimately required the boy to have both his legs amputated to save his life!
A strep infection is very, very dangerous. The infection can start harmlessly enough just causing illness or irritation for a patient, however, it can become stronger and deadly if it is left untreated and progresses to the bloodstream. A common strep infection is tonsillitis, or strep throat. That is a kind of focal infection, or localized. Other types are impetigo, cellulitis, and erysipelas which are all skin and tissue strep infections. Or as in this case, bacteremia which is a bloodstream infection. These kind of blood infections are very dangerous and the immune system’s response can cause sepsis and septic shock—both which have a very high mortality rate.
However, when treated in a timely manner the infection can be neutralized with antibiotics. In this case, the hospital failed to perform a simple strep test that could have saved the boys legs. The parents filed the medical malpractice lawsuit and are seeking compensating for his medical costs and pain and suffering.
I hope that the hospital here really has a large payout. Not for the stake of sticking it to them, but as I posted yesterday from the Jackson family: The hospital should learn from their mistake and know they need to uphold their Oath. This was a SIMPLE protocol mistake in not doing this test! So simple yet ended horribly for the patient! In law school, we learn about the seminal case of Carroll Towing where the Judge Learned Hand famous set the stand for a duty that if the probability of harm is great, the harm is significant, and the burden on addressing that harm is so low, there is a duty. Here, we fight squarely in that rule.
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