Neurologist recounts personal medical malpractice experience

| Oct 8, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

The average patient has little choice but to take his or her doctor’s word when seeking medical care. One doctor’s attempt to get essential medical care highlights just how precarious the trust that most Delaware patients place in their doctors really is, especially when it comes to missed diagnoses. According to one neurologist, he would have been another victim of medical malpractice if he had not recognized the seriousness of his own symptoms.

The 78-year-old neurologist developed disturbing symptoms shortly after a 15-mile bike ride with a friend, including tingling and numbness in his arms and neck pain. He sought care at an emergency room a couple of days late. Upon his arrival, he told the staff of his medical background and reported that he was worried he may have developed cervical spine disease as well as compression in his spinal cord and root. He requested specific testing, including a blood study to look for a spine infection, as he had suffered from one before.

Instead, he only briefly saw a doctor who failed to perform rudimentary testing — partially because he lacked the tools to do so. The attending doctor also initially declined to perform certain tests, and then did so incorrectly when pressed. The neurologist only later learned of very concerning results of blood tests two days after the initial visit, and only because he understood how to access his own medical records. Armed with this information he sought care at a different hospital and promptly underwent surgery. Left untreated he would have likely become quadriplegic.

The average patient in Delaware does not have the extensive medical knowledge to push back against a negligent health care provider. When this type of neglect causes negative outcomes, victims often need all the help they can get. For some, this means pursuing compensation through a medical malpractice claim.