Patient awarded millions after New York doctor’s misdiagnosis

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

A judge has awarded a man nearly $4 million after his doctor misdiagnosed his condition and put him through a health-damaging trial. The doctor is now the chief neurologist of the Hospital for Special Surgery and plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

In 2004, the patient started to experience sudden falling. He went to Mount Sinai Hospital for diagnosis, and the doctor told him that he had myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder. The man was told that the disease would not disappear and that it would eventually cripple him, leading to a much sooner death. The treatment for this included medication, blood treatments and the surgical removal of the thymus in his chest.

The patient had the surgery and underwent 74 sessions of treatment. However, he continued to fall and gained 80 pounds and hypertension in the process. When the doctor left the hospital for a new job, the patient started seeing a different doctor who gave him a diagnosis of cataplexy, which is controllable with medication. Since taking the new medication, the man has been free of falling. The patient’s lawyer says that his client never had myasthenia gravis, and the treatments that the doctor provided only made the condition worse. However, the doctor’s lawyer says that his client’s diagnosis and treatment recommendations were sensible and in line with acknowledged established practice.

When patients are injured as the result of a physician’s negligence or omission of information, they could be entitled to compensation through medical malpractice lawsuits. If the patients win compensation, it may pay for past and future medical costs, lost income, rehabilitation services and loss of future income.

Source: The Jewish Voice, “NYC Doctor’s Error Leads to $4M Settlement”, Chaim Sternberg, April 23, 2014

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