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Failure to diagnose leads to brain damage, claims mother

Ask any parent in Queens what it was like the first time his or her child got sick and you will likely hear similar stories: concern about whether it was a relatively mild illness or something much more severe. For those parents who have had children with serious medical conditions, there is an overwhelming fear that the child may not survive. When parents bring their children to the doctor, they expect the physicians to do everything in their power to help their children get better. Sadly, some doctors fail to do so.

One mother has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her daughter's former pediatrician, claiming that she failed to diagnose her daughter's viral meningitis, leading to significant and permanent brain damage. The mother even has evidence that the doctor originally thought the daughter could be suffering from viral meningitis when she saw the then-8 year old, but she quickly dismissed the potential diagnosis. Her notes indicate that there was "no evidence upon exam."

The mother brought her young daughter to the doctor in 2005 after her daughter started to complain about a sore neck, a fever and a headache. Although the doctor listed six possible reasons for the symptoms, including viral meningitis, she ultimately decided that the girl was merely suffering from allergies. She sent the girl home with allergy medication.

Had the doctor believed that the girl had viral meningitis, she should have ordered a spinal tap. If she had, she would have quickly learned that the young girl was indeed infected, and she probably could have successfully treated her. She didn't, however, and it took two days for the daughter to eventually be diagnosed with this serious infection. She had a series of seizures until she suffered a stroke and was in a coma for three weeks. The now-15 year old is living with severe brain damage.

Source: The Lowell Sun, "Lowell mother takes stand in malpractice suit; says daughter disabled by missed meningitis diagnosis," Lisa Redmond, Mar. 1, 2013

A failure to diagnose a medical condition can cause serious injuries to a Queens patient. Even a minor delay can have serious effects on a patient's chance of survival or his or her long-term condition. Find out more by visiting our website.

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