Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Delayed diagnosis leads to death of teenager

The mother of 15-year old boy that died in a hospital has since become an advocate for patient safety in the hopes that same thing does not happen again. The reason why her son died may have been in part the hospital understaffed for the weekend, and as medical personnel were unavailable a delayed diagnosis of the boy's condition may have resulted.

All Pennsylvania medical providers need to monitor their patients at all times following medical procedures. In this circumstance, the boy was administered a medication regarding a congenital heart condition, but taking of the medication may have then caused the boy to suffer from a perforated ulcer resulting in internal bleeding. The boy died within 30 hours after the medication was given of cardiac arrest.

Delays in diagnosing a condition can lead to permanent injury or death. And though investigation is required, attorneys trying cases in the medical malpractice area often can prove that such a delay resulted in patient harm.

There are certain measures that can be taken by patients and family members to make sure a medical staff is doing all that they can to prevent such a circumstance from occurring. Patients or family members can read their own medical records and ask questions of medical staff. It would also be recommended that patients keep a list of medications they take, and also keep a chronology of their past medical history. Such patients should also monitor their own symptoms in the event something is wrong such as a post-operative infection.

Still, patients should not be required to do the work of the medical staff. Hospitals do need to be held accountable when patients die of conditions that should be monitored by staff.

Source: The CT Mirror, "A patient survival guide, from a mother who learned too late," by Arielle Levin Becker, March 8, 2012

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