When patients seek treatment for concerning symptoms, their doctors may have a responsibility to refer them to specialists when a diagnosis cannot be easily made without further examination.
When patients are referred to specialists or other doctors, it is extremely important for medical professionals to communicate with each other when they are treating the same patients. Without effective communication, doctors in Illinois and throughout the U.S. are more likely to make medical errors, including medication errors, surgical mistakes or a medical misdiagnosis.
One patient in Louisiana is currently pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit against two doctors and a hospital for their misdiagnosis error. The patient claims that had doctors and hospital workers communicated effectively with each other when treating the patient, the patient would not have had to suffer permanent injuries.
According to the lawsuit, the woman sought medical treatment at an emergency room because she was experiencing serious hearing problems. In addition to having problems hearing, the woman was also in pain and her face was going numb. Doctors concluded that the woman was suffering from hearing loss and cranial nerve deficit. The woman then underwent several tests and was diagnosed with sensorincural hearing loss and was sent to see specialists at the hospital.
Although the woman had been diagnosed with hearing loss problems, ear, nose and throat specialists at the hospital ended up diagnosing the patient with rhinitis, which is a condition that results in irritation and inflammation in the nose. Instead of receiving proper treatment for her hearing loss, the patient was treated for rhinitis and sent home to recover.
The patient claims that the hospital is partially responsible for her permanent injuries from the misdiagnosis because it failed to enforce hospital policies that were in place to prevent such mistakes. The patient also claims that doctors from the ear, nose and throat unit had also caused her to suffer permanent injuries by failing to properly diagnose her hearing loss condition.
Source: The Louisiana Record, “Ochsner sued by woman for alleged misdiagnosis of hearing loss,” Kyle Barnett, March 4, 2013
Failure to Diagnose