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Montgomery County Medical Malpractice Negligence from Diverticulitis

A Montgomery County Medical Malpractice Negligence  Case results in Wrongful Death from Diverticulitis. In March of 2005, a 60-year-old Montgomery County, PA woman underwent a colonoscopy and it was determined that she had diverticulitis. A colonoscopy is a common test that allows a physician to view the inner lining of a patient’s colon, according to WebMD.com.  It is used as a screen for Colorectal Cancer.  In June, 2013, the New York Times postulated that $2.7 trillion that the U.S. spends annually on colonoscopies are the reason that we lead the world in health expenditures.

On May 5, 2005, the 60-year-old woman went to the emergency room with severe pain in her side, back and abdomen. The emergency physician diagnosed the woman with constipation and prescribed a laxative and sent her home under her own care.  The records indicate that she experienced more pain with attempts to move her bowels, bruises on her abdomen, blood her stool, three days of nearly constant abdominal pain and an elevated white blood count.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a high white blood cell count indicates an increase in the disease-fighting cells that are circulating in the blood.

The following morning, she went to see her family doctor, still in pain. The physician noted that the laxative had successfully allowed her to mover her bowels several times; however, she was still in significant pain.  The family physician found an abdominal strain and prescribed a narcotic for pain relief. The woman, needing round-the-clock care, went to the home of a family member.

Several days later, she went to a different emergency room with the same excruciating abdominal pain, in the company of her family. She was diagnosed with acute diverticulitis with the help of a CT-scan, which also found air in the mesentery and micro perforations of her bowel.

While in the hospital, another preexisting condition was exacerbated.   The abdominal diverticulitis surgery was postponed until she was stable, in late May of 2005. She left the hospital with a colostomy, which was reversed in February of 2006. In addition, she endured several post-operative complications including the development of a large abscess and hernia. The complications led to a downward spiral of her overall health as well as necrotizing fasciitis, which is also known as Flesh Eating Bacteria, and can destroy skin, fat and the tissue covering muscles in a very short amount of time.

She died of complications and infection on May 26, 2007. Her estate maintained that the initial emergency room doctor failed to order proper diagnostic tests in light two factors:  the elevated white blood count and recent colonoscopy which revealed diverticulitis. The primary complaint in the trial was the allegations that her death was the result of a delay in treating her diverticulitis. A personal injury lawyer filed the medical malpractice negligence case in Montgomery county.

The diagnosis of constipation was alleged by the estate to be negligent. In addition, the estate alleged family physician was negligent in failing to order additional studies in light of getting no pain relief from the laxatives. The emergency room physician and the family physician denied negligence.

The case proceeded to trial against the emergency room physician alone, as the family care physician was dismissed. The jury, however, did not find the emergency room physician to be negligent.

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