A construction worked from Montana has received a $9 million medical malpractice award by a federal court jury who agreed with his contention that Campbell County Memorial Hospital and the ER doctor who cared for him following a rollover truck accident were negligent in failing to diagnose his broken neck.
Louis Prager was injured in December of 2008 when his company vehicle skidded off an icy road and road. Prager told emergency personnel who took him to the hospital that he had pain to his neck and shoulder and they placed a cervical collar on.
Dr. Brian Cullison, the emergency room physician ordered x-rays and CT scans of Prager’s spine, head and facial bones but neglected to order the tests for his neck. He discharged Prager from the hospital on the day of the accident without a complete diagnosis and without a cervical collar.
Prager returned to the hospital four days later after he experienced extreme pain in his neck and shoulder and it was at that time that he was diagnosed with a broken neck. Unfortunately, because his neck had not been stabilized immediately, he suffered permanent nerve damage.
The jury awarded Prager $7 million and his wife $2 million for loss of consortium.
This was the largest medical malpractice award in Wyoming history.
Often people have the misconception that medical malpractice only occurs when a physician or hospital does an overt act such as dispensing the wrong medication but failing to diagnose can delay treatment which can result in death or a worsening injury as in this case.
In a “failure to diagnose” case, the important test is “Did the delay in diagnosis made a difference?”
Source: Trib.com Feds agree to $2.15 ‘failure to diagnose’ medical malpractice settlement
Feds agree to $2.15 ‘failure to diagnose’ medical malpractice settlement
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