According to a study published in the BJM Quality and Safety Journal, approximately twelve million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed. That means one in approximately every twenty adults are misdiagnosed when they seek medical care at outpatient facilities, including their own primary health care physicians. In about half of those cases, a misdiagnosis has the potential to result in serious injury or even death. Although some of these diagnostic errors are unavoidable, many can be prevented with proper care, attention, experience and training.
Gregory Leigh visited the MidState Medical Center in Connecticut in December of 2008 complaining of problems with his throat. His doctor, Daniel Schwartz, quickly diagnosed him with a swollen lymph node and scheduled him for surgery. During that surgery, something went seriously wrong and Schwartz damaged Leigh’s spinal accessory nerve. As a result, Leigh has lost the use of his left shoulder.
Making this already tragic event worse, Leigh says the surgery never should have happened in the first place. According to the New Haven Register, a simple medical test would have revealed that Leigh did not, in fact, have a swollen lymph node. Instead, he was suffering from a bacterial infection called Bartonellosis, which is also known as catch scratch disease. Living on a farm, Leigh often takes in stray cats. It is believed that he must have been scratched by one of the cats carrying the disease, causing him to suffer mild symptoms, which mimicked those associated with a swollen lymph node. Nonetheless, a simple test could have discerned the difference.
Now, Leigh suffers permanent disfigurement to his left shoulder and an inability to extend his arm or raise it above his head. Leigh has worked as a laborer his entire life. As a result of this incident, Leigh’s work life has been severely limited as he is restricted to activities that require only his right arm. Leigh tried his case against Schwartz and MidState Medical Group in a Superior Court in New Haven, Connecticut. Ultimately, the six-member jury awarded Leigh $4.2 million in damages.
Have you or a loved one suffered due to the negligence of trained medical professionals? If so, please call 617-787-3700 now to get your free consultation with one of our expert Boston medical malpractice attorneys.