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Oct 07, 2021 in News --> Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed Diagnoses Can Cause Serious Negative Health Outcomes

medical malpractice lawsuit, medical malpractice lawyer

Last month, Canadian Lawyer reported that an emergency physician was determined to have breached the standard of care in assessing a patient’s stab wound. The breach led to a delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment, which caused negative outcomes for the patient and, eventually, a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Most medical malpractice cases for delayed diagnoses involve illnesses and diseases, especially cancer. This case, Sommerville v. Fine, highlights the importance of prompt and accurate diagnoses in all medical circumstances.

According to Canadian Lawyer, the incident began when the defendant physician treated the plaintiff in the emergency department following a physical altercation in 2008. The plaintiff asserted in his claim that he had suffered a serious stab wound to his leg resulting in either a total or partial transection of the patellar tendon. Imaging evidence presented at trial showed a clean cut of the tendon and a gap where the cut occurred. 

At trial, the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario found that the complete transection probably occurred while the physician was examining the patient. It also identified a litany of physician failures, including the fact that the injury could have been easily detected using an extensor mechanism assessment; that the physician failed to perform a full active leg assessment; that the physician failed to identify that the patient couldn’t extend his knee, bear weight on his leg, or walk on the leg without crutches; that the physician failed to identify air in the knee joint on x-rays; and that the plaintiff was experiencing an unusual amount of pain for a non-penetrating joint wound.

As a result of the physician’s failure to diagnose the extent of the patient’s injuries, the patient has experienced ongoing pain and limited mobility. He has also been unable to participate in certain activities. The court awarded damages and confirmed that the plaintiff was not partially liable.

When a medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that a doctor failed to accurately diagnosis a plaintiff’s illness or injury, the plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer must prove that the defendant acted differently than a reasonable physician would in a similar situation. In Sommerville v. Fine, there appears to have been a wealth of evidence and expert testimony supporting the plaintiff’s claims.

However, this is not always the case; some delayed diagnosis lawsuits can be quite challenging for plaintiff-side counsel. If you’ve been injured in a medical setting, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Our team will review your claim, explain your options, and help you decide whether a medical malpractice lawsuit makes sense for you and your family.


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