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Lawsuit: Failure to diagnose sepsis causes 3 amputations

The failure to properly determine a patient's medical condition is very often the leading reason behind a medical malpractice claim in California and other states. Such claims may be characterized as a failure to diagnose or as a misdiagnosis. When medical care is provided that misses the mark and is not relevant to the patient's actual condition, or when care is totally omitted due to the failure to diagnose, the table may be set for a claim of medical malpractice.

When there is a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, this may cause a severe medical setback to the patient. It may create a situation where a serious infection, for example, is allowed to run rampant in the patient's body without any treatment for it. One case that was recently filed illustrates the point.

A woman and her husband have sued an urgent care facility for several amputations that she suffered allegedly as a direct result of the facility's failure to diagnose the existence of sepsis, a serious and deadly infection that is well known to most doctors. The complaint alleges that when the neglect of the facility was discovered by other health care providers, the negligence had already made it impossible to save the woman's legs, both of which had to cut off below her knees. She also lost her right arm above the elbow, portions of the fingers of the left hand, and other tissue and muscle losses.

The patient's medical expenses are claimed to be in excess of $1.6 million and her future medical care will cost more than $8 million, along with another $2 million in lost wages. In addition, who can place a limit on the value of the pain and suffering that she has and will experience? In California, if medical malpractice and the failure to diagnose the sepsis were proved to be the cause of the amputations, the case could fairly settle for an amount in excess of $10 million.  

Source:, "Woman with flesh-eating bacteria suing Northeast Georgia Health System", Aug. 11, 2016

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