A 34 year-old woman suffered from sepsis after her doctors advised her to cancel her consultation appointment after presenting with sudden, severe back pain.
The woman initially went to her gynecologist complaining of the back pain and her inability to put weight on her right leg. An abdominal computed tomography scan revealed no abnormalities, and the patient was advised to follow up with her primary care physician and undergo a neurological consult.
When the primary care physician later diagnosed her with low back and leg pain, the doctor advised the woman to cancel her neurological consult. Instead, the primary care physician referred the patient to an acupuncturist for alternative treatment.
Approximately three weeks later, the woman returned to her primary care physician. She presented with chest pain, a 101-degree fever, and hemoptysis (coughing up blood). At this point, the physician prescribed more Percocet for the woman’s pain, and advised her to go to the emergency room.
Four days later, the woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with an abscess which had led to sepsis and endocarditis. She stayed in the hospital for several weeks to undergo several medical and surgical procedures.
In her medical malpractice lawsuit, the woman claimed that her doctor was negligent for failing to pursue her diagnosis more aggressively, and for advising her to cancel her neurological consultation.
The case was settled before trial for $400,000.
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