When a person visits the doctor he or she generally does not know what type of medical problem they are experiencing given their symptoms. Therefore, patients rely on their doctor’s expertise to properly diagnosis their medical issue and to inform them of the proper treatment and to provide that treatment promptly. Unfortunately there are instances where a doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnosis a patient’s symptoms. This can be detrimental to the patient’s health and should the patient suffer injury due to the doctor’s misdiagnosis, the patient can sue the doctor for medical malpractice.
A mother in Massachusetts, Stacy Phillips, is suing a former doctor of her daughter’s, Dr. Michelle Lock, for medical malpractice. She is alleging that the doctor’s misdiagnosis left her daughter, Amber, with brain-damage. Dr. Lock has denied the allegations.
In August 2005, Phillips took her daughter to Dr. Lock because her regular pediatrician was on maternity leave. Dr. Lock told Phillips that her daughter was likely suffering from allergies. She was sent home with allergy medication. Phillips had asked if other tests could be done but Dr. Lock allegedly said that further tests would not be necessary. When specifically asked if she would take a blood sample in case Amber was suffering from meningitis, Dr. Lock allegedly ruled out the possibility that she had the disease. However according to medical records, Dr. Lock suspected viral meningitis but no spinal tap was performed.
Meningitis is when an infection is traveling to the brain through the blood stream and causes inflammation of the brain tissue. Stiff neck, headaches, and fever are some of the symptoms and if it is left untreated permanent brain damage and death can result.
Amber was discovered having a seizure by her mother two days later. She rushed Amber to the hospital where meningitis was detected by the doctors. Amber had suffered a stroke and had fallen into a coma from which she awoke three weeks later with brain damage.
As a result of the brain damage Amber had to relearn how to walk, eat, and speak. Additionally, she will not be able to function above a child’s level and will require assistance for the rest of her life. A life-care planning expert has estimated that Amber’s lifelong care costs could amount to more than $14 million.
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