January 26, 2016, PNLR E-Newsletter | The American Association For Justice Archive

January 26, 2016, PNLR E-Newsletter

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Failure to diagnose bacterial infection

photo of magnified bacteria

The plaintiffs alleged that the patient’s primary care physician, a hospital, and several ER physicians failed to act on a positive blood culture, treat the infection, and follow up with repeat blood tests. The parties settled for $900,000. Doe v. Roe.

Doe, 66, experienced chest pain and fever. He went to a hospital emergency room, where blood testing indicated a Strep infection. Doe was prescribed Levaquin; however, he was not given a diagnosis. The blood test results were forwarded to his primary care physician, who did not contact Doe.

Several weeks later, Doe returned to the emergency room, complaining of back pain. Staff prescribed prednisone, and Doe consulted his primary care physician several days later. The physician prescribed Vicodin, which failed to improve Doe’s back pain. He later experienced additional symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and blurred vision. He returned to the emergency room and the primary care physician several times and was diagnosed as having a heart valve infection. It was later revealed to Doe that his initial blood cultures had been positive for Strep.

Doe then underwent treatment for bacterial endocarditis. Although his treatment was successful, he suffered a stroke.

Doe and his wife sued the primary care physician, the hospital, and several emergency room physicians, alleging failure to act on the positive blood culture, treat Doe’s infection, and follow up with repeat blood tests. Suit did not claim lost income.

The defense argued that the standard of care had been met.

The parties settled for $900,000.

Citation: Doe v. Roe, Confidential Dkt. No. (Wash., Confidential Ct. Oct. 2015).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members James S. Rogers, Elizabeth J. Donaldson, and Steven Pruzan, all of Seattle.