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Improper treatment of simple infection leads to patient’s death

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

Patients seeking medical treatment for minor injuries or illnesses can fall victim to medical errors or malpractice that increase the severity of their medical condition and, in some cases, lead to a patient’s unnecessary death. These medical errors occur on a regular basis in hospitals in New York and around the country.

A recent case involves a 33-year old forklift operator in Hawaii who sought medical treatment at a clinic for a simple infection in 2011. Medical personnel prescribed an antibiotic. The patient returned the next day and numerous times after that complaining of increasingly severe symptoms. These symptoms included headaches, pain, vomiting, eye discharge and a rash, and he also visited the emergency room. Each time, the patient was advised by medical personnel to continue to take the prescribed antibiotic. A little more than a week after the initial medical treatment, the patient was enduring complete liver and renal failure, and he eventually died from what was determined to be multiple organ failure caused by an allergic reaction to the prescribed antibiotic.

The victim’s family and fiancee initiated a wrongful death action that was reportedly settled Nov. 12, 2013, in the amount of $2.5 million. The attorney for the victim’s family stated that the victim’s suffering and eventual death could have been avoided if the medical center had performed a simple blood test, which would have revealed his allergy to the prescribed antibiotic.

Medical errors and malpractice can turn a simple medical issue into a serious or even deadly problem. In cases where medical treatment has caused a patient’s health to deteriorate, the patient may suffer economic and emotional consequences. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to recover compensation for victims of medical errors and malpractice that may recoup their economic losses.

Source: Insurance Journal, “$2.5M Settlement In Hawaii Malpractice Began With a Toe“, November 15, 2013

Picture of Edward A. Ruffo, Partner

Edward A. Ruffo, Partner

Mr. Ruffo currently litigates cases at the state and federal levels in New York and New Jersey and has obtained numerous multi-million dollar medical damage awards for his clients. He has been annually ranked as a Top 10 and Top 100 Trial Lawyer by numerous professional societies including The National Trial Lawyers Association.

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