As Americans, we sometimes think that we are entitled to the “gold standard” of whatever is out there on the free market. We expect that because we have been subconsciously trained to believe that there is always something better out there. And while this societal perspective is indeed self-centered, there are some instances in which the expectation of top notch quality and attentiveness is warranted. One of them, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is the field of medicine.
In receiving medical care, we often assume that the trained professionals diagnosing our symptoms will be correct in their evaluations and treatment. That, however, does not account for the fact that like everyone else, doctors are human beings who are prone to making mistakes—sometimes large ones. Far too often, doctors, surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals make mistakes that drastically worsen the health of their patients, rather than helping them. In these grave instances, the simplest error, or change in timing, can be the difference between health and sickness, or life and death. Thus, medical professionals are expected to demonstrate a high level of care when diagnosing patients with certain conditions.
In February of 2014, Elijah Moore was born in a West Virginia hospital to two happy parents. But the day was not as ecstatic as it should have been. The Moores found out that Elijah suffered from hemophilia, a serious condition in which blood doesn’t clot normally.
A year later, little Elijah was rushed to the hospital. His parents could tell that something was very wrong with their son. He was lethargic, and would not respond to their words. They brought Elijah to the Camden Clark Hospital emergency room at 2:34 pm on February 19th, 2015. There, the attending physician, Dr. Richard Ferguson, said that Elijah was suffering a hemorrhage (bleeding) in his brain. But after that diagnosis, the Moores waited nearly seven hours to receive a CT scan, and another hour and a half after that to receive the proper medicine. It was midnight before Elijah was transported to a facility that could correctly handle the bleeding that had accumulated on his brain. By that time, the damage had been done. Shortly after that, Elijah died.
Grief-stricken and angry, the Moores filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Richardson and the Camden Clark Hospital, stating that they had not acted quickly enough to save their dying son. In particular, the Moores alleged that the hospital had hired doctors who were not qualified to render proper emergency medical care.