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Failure to diagnose is the basis for a $5 million settlement

Patient injuries from medical negligence in Louisiana and elsewhere are often caused by a failure to diagnose the correct condition. When a failure to diagnose occurs, any injuries caused by that failure are compensable damages to the patient. In a recent case in another state, medical providers agreed to pay a former patient  $5 million in return for a cessation of litigation against them. The case was set for trial for Jan. 2016 but was settled at the end of December.

The plaintiff had filed a lawsuit claiming that the defendant doctors and hospital had caused her permanent brain damage during the six days that they treated her for the wrong condition. She came to the hospital's emergency room complaining of progressive symptoms of confusion and weakness. The patient alleged that the doctors initially diagnosed severe hyponatremia, which indicates very low sodium in the blood, and they put her on a high sodium regimen.  

After six days, the patient was transferred to the University of Illinois Hospital, where a diagnosis of potine myelinosis was made. The condition causes injury to the myelin sheaths in the brain, which are the protective sheaths that surround the nerve fibers and assist in the transmission of nerve impulses. The patient then had to be cared for in a nursing home for over six months. She now has alleged limitations with the use of her hands and legs.

Her lawsuit claimed that sudden increase of sodium ordered by the defending doctors caused the potine myelinosis. Although a settlement for $5 million indicates responsibility by the defendants for the plaintiff's injuries, a hospital spokesperson stated that the settlement was "of course not" an admission of liability. However, in order for a settlement to be approved, the plaintiff would have had to present authoritative expert reports demonstrating negligent treatment based on the failure to diagnose the correct condition. That is the required procedure in Louisiana as well as all other states. 

Source: cookcountyrecord ,, "$5 million medical malpractice settlement OK'd vs doctors, Northwest Community Hospital", Emma Gallimore, Jan. 22, 2016

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