Recently, an ER doctor and radiologist split the blame in a medical malpractice case. The case involved a 32-year-old man who collapsed while receiving chiropractic care. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Reportedly, emergency imaging showed that the man was suffering from a brainstem stroke, which requires immediate treatment. However, according to the report, the medical team at the hospital did not reach a diagnosis and begin treatment until the patient’s second day in the hospital.
The patient’s attorneys argued that delaying treatment resulted in the patient’s brain suffering severe damage and the patient becoming stricken with locked-in syndrome. Locked-in syndrome prevents sufferers from controlling or feeling any of their voluntary muscle groups (except for their eyes).
According to Radiology Business, a digital news outlet that focuses on the radiology industry, a jury assigned the ER doctor with 60 percent of the fault for the stroke patient suffering whole-body paralysis. The jury assigned the other 40 percent of the fault to the radiologist. All other clinicians involved in the case were cleared of any blame. The jury awarded the patient with $46 million in damages and $29 million for medical expenses.
Why Did the Doctor and Radiologist Share the Blame?
While the nursing staff in the ICU, a physician assistant, and a neurologist were cleared of any fault, the ER doctor and radiologist shared the blame for the medical negligence. Why? According to the report, the ER doctor took most of the blame because it was his responsibility to recognize, diagnose, and treat the issue.
The radiologist shared the blame because the prosecution argued that when he examined the imaging, he only focused on identifying whether the patient’s arteries were torn, which may have led to him failing to recognize other problems as soon as he should have.
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