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Medical malpractice suit focuses on diagnosis timing

When an individual seeks medical care, he or she is placing a great deal of trust in the physicians chosen. Most Hawaii residents lack the specialized medical training that is required to properly diagnose a medical problem and create a treatment plan, which is why those tasks are turned over to the professionals. However, gaining a proper and timely diagnosis is not guaranteed, as one recent medical malpractice suit demonstrates.

The case centers on a women who sought treatment for abdominal pain. The discomfort began in 2009, and the doctor that she choose advised her to go through a partial hysterectomy to ease the pain. She did so, and later underwent yet another partial hysterectomy. Neither of these procedures was successful in easing her pain, however.

It was not until she was critically ill that she was sent for a CT scan. The results of that test showed that the woman had a perforated bowel. Her earlier symptoms had pointed to this possibility, but the proper testing was not conducted until she was at an advanced state of illness. By the time the issue was resolved, she had developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, and had lost approximately 20 percent of her lung capacity.

In the resulting medical malpractice lawsuit, the timing of her diagnosis played a major role. Eventually, the jury in the case awarded the woman $700,000. Her husband was awarded an additional $425,000 for loss of consortium, as the couple were unable to have normal marital relations during the course of the woman's illness. As this case demonstrates, achieving a timely and proper medical diagnosis is imperative for those in Hawaii and elsewhere who are suffering from a painful condition.

Source: Cincinnati.com, "Hamilton jury awards woman $1.2M in malpractice suit", Amber Hunt, Sept. 11, 2014

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