Our Chicago medical malpractice law blog has discussed a variety of mistakes that have been made when doctors were trusted by their patients to provide them with quality care. When these mistakes are made, patients have every right to take legal action in order to hold doctors accountable for their errors.
We have also mentioned on our blog that patients and families in Illinois may benefit greatly from working with an attorney when pursuing a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim against a doctor. This is because plaintiffs will need to support their claims with a significant amount of evidence, and when plaintiffs have limited knowledge about Illinois laws, the legal process of filing a lawsuit, and complex medical procedures, they may not understand how to use the evidence that may be available to them.
For example, something as simple as not noticing that a doctor had failed to perform a basic eye exam on an injured patient could prevent a plaintiff from being able to provide sufficient evidence proving that medical malpractice had indeed occurred and contributed to the patient’s injuries.
We mention this example because a doctor’s failure to perform a basic eye exam may have caused a patient in Australia to die from stroke complications after her suspected stroke went undiagnosed and untreated. The woman’s family is suing, and an expert recently testified that a doctor had failed to check the woman’s eyes when she was admitted to the hospital. This simple exam could have provided the doctor with important clues as to why the woman was ill. The error was discovered after reviewing the woman’s medical records and noticing that the doctor who had treated the woman at the hospital never reported that an eye exam was performed.
The patient was admitted to the hospital in 2011, just 11 days after she had given birth to a baby girl. The woman had a severe headache and was feeling ill. Within four days of being admitted to the hospital, the woman died. It is now believed that the woman died of a stroke that went undiagnosed and untreated. According to medical experts, results from a properly performed eye exam may have raised a red flag that the woman was suffering from a stroke when she was taken to the hospital.
Source: Herald Sun, “Suspected stroke victim Kerri Gunn not given eye check before death, inquest hears,” David Hurley, May 21, 2013