The family of a patient who died from an untreated urinary tract infection has sued the Charleston, West Virginia hospital where he sought treatment. Back in 2007, Clarence Leroy Dunnavant, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, checked into the Saint Francis Hospital with a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection. However, doctors allegedly misdiagnosed Dunnavant’s urinary tract infection, resulting in Dunnavant dying in the hospital less than one day later.
Dunnavant reportedly died after a hole developed in his intestinal tract, causing air to slowly fill his abdomen. The alleged result was that Dunnavant died through slow suffocation. Now Dunnavant’s family blames Saint Francis for negligent behavior. They have sued both the hospital and several of its doctors and nurses. The family’s attorney argues that Dunnavant’s on-call doctor never took the steps required to determine whether Dunnavant had a perforated bowel, and did not even personally examine Dunnavant until shortly before Dunnavant’s death. A second doctor failed to notice that Dunnavant’s X-ray showed that his abdomen was filled with air and therefore did not call for a radiologist for interpretation. Dunnavant’s nurses were also accused of negligent behavior for failing to keep the on-call doctor informed of Dunnavant’s symptoms and not following the doctor’s instructions for his care.
The on-call doctor insists that he followed careful procedures. He claims that the symptoms relayed to him by the hospital staff throughout the evening led him to believe that Dunnavant was suffering from a less serious ailment. The on-call doctor allegedly ordered all of the treatment based on the information received. In any event, the fates of Saint Francis and its staff, the on-call doctor, and the X-ray doctor lie in the hands of a West Virginia jury.
Medical mistakes are sadly all-too-common, with more than 200,000 occurring each year nationwide. This number is higher than the number of people killed in car accidents, yet mistakes are probably still underreported. The most frequent medical mistakes tend to involve prescription drugs, surgical errors, and birth injury mistakes. Over the years, the Wolfe Law Firm has seen all of these types of cases, as well as the issue involving Dunnavant’s case: misdiagnosis and poor care.
If you or your loved one are misdiagnosed or mistreated for an illness, you should hire a West Virginia medical mistakes attorney to help you get relief as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will know how to build a case for a medical malpractice lawsuit that is highly likely to succeed. It would involve claiming that the doctor had a duty to provide reasonable care to you or your loved one. The doctor breached that duty by failing to take all reasonable precautions or to use all reasonable measures. The breach resulted in your injury — a misdiagnosis — and the damage was whatever damage you sustained as a result of a serious health problem not getting treated. You may also be able to sue the hospital under the concept of “respondeat superior,” where the employer is responsible for the actions of its employee as long as these harmful actions took place during the course of, and within the scope of, employment.