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Widow Files Medical Malpractice Suit Over Failure to Diagnose Staph Infection

A woman in Brooksville, outside Tampa, has sued several medical providers who failed to diagnose her husband’s infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — an increasingly common skin infection that doesn’t respond to penicillin and can be fatal if left untreated. According to Hernando Today, the man saw his doctor about the infection in July, but was given antibiotics and sent home without a culture to diagnose the infection.

Several days later, he entered the hospital, where tests showed he had MRSA, but neither he nor his doctors were told, and the infection wasn’t put on his chart. He was sent home with antibiotics that controlled the MRSA until September, when he was readmitted to the hospital for uncontrolled diabetes. It was not until the next day that a doctor diagnosed the man’s septic (toxic) MRSA and sent him to intensive care. There, he went into cardiac arrest and died the next day. His widow sued the hospital staff and the man’s doctors for medical malpractice under the Florida Wrongful Death Act.

Unfortunately, Florida medical malpractice lawsuits having to do with MRSA are more common than you might think, because carelessness in a medical setting is often responsible for MRSA. In fact, the infection is sometimes called “health care associated MRSA” because it occurs mostly in hospitals and medical centers– places with large groups of people in close contact, many of whose immune systems are already depressed. A report by the Chicago Tribune in 2007 called the infection “rampant” in hospitals, saying 1.2 million people per year get the infection and about 48,000 die. Hospital staffers who do not wash their hands often enough can easily carry MRSA from an infected patient to an uninfected patient. In fact, studies have found that 12 to 15 percent of hospital staffers are carriers.

In this case, the lawsuit is alleging that the hospital was negligent in failing to diagnose the infection — not that it gave him the infection. Failure to diagnose may not sound as serious as actually giving a patient a new infection, but as this case shows, it can have extremely serious consequences. Time is important in diagnosis of many diseases, because catching it early vastly improves the patient’s chance of successful treatment. Failure to investigate clear signs of a serious problem is a medical mistake, just like failure to prevent infection or leaving surgical equipment inside a patient.

If you believe you or someone you love is a victim of this type of bad medical care, Florida law gives you the right to sue the wrongdoer for financial compensation. In a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice claim, you can win money for costs like new treatment caused by the mistake, physical pain, emotional suffering and the lost quality of life caused by a permanent disability or losing a loved one. To speak with one of our experienced Coral Springs medical malpractice lawyers, please contact our firm online for a free consultation.

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