Has anyone sued for failure to diagnose?
AnonymousJune 25, 2007 at 10:49 pm
I’m just curious to see if anybody has successfully sued? I have an excellent case. I even had an abnormal NCV 1st day in hospital that the neurologist discounted. I even asked him if I had GBS and he said “No – It’s just Migraines”. He was referring to the spinal headache from my tap- HA resolved with a blood patch.
This neurologist had already been taken off my referral list(before I became sick) because he misdiagnosed 2 of my patients. One was severly harmed and is still in wheelchair. I found out last week he had been fired from his previous group(I was told by his previous partner) because of poor patient care. I refused to see him when I was in hospital but he was next on the call rotation and I didn’t have a choice.
He didn’t listen to me or believe me about the hand/feet numbness/weakness.Subsequently, I had severe axonal damage and I am almost 6 months out and still with alot of disability and if I am improving – it is very slow. I was not retested for 5 days from admission. I was paralysed but I could still breath on my own when I got the ivig(from another neurologist). There is much literature that proves sooner means less damage.
I still can’t work enough to make it above my overhead(1/2 days). This is the 1st month I have not had to pay in (alot) overhead and I broke even. I have lost alot of money! I’m currently working for free- and working is a daily struggle. It’s really not about the money- to be honest it’s about the principal and protecting others from this doctor. Knowing he continues to practice makes it hard for me to sleep at night. Any with experience? Dr. Shawn
AnonymousJune 26, 2007 at 12:19 am
I think the large majority of us on this forum have been misdiagnosed in the beginning of our illness. First off, I had a very unusual cold that lasted 3 months prior to my CIDP. My GP dismissed my 3 visits as merely a normal cold, even though I kept telling him that it felt different. I never even got a chest x-ray or blood workup done; if I had he would have known early on that I had walking pneumonia. Later on when I went in to his associate with numb hands & numb feet, he told me that it was merely anxiety. It wasn’t until my knees were giving out that they told me to go to Duluth, MN.
In Duluth I had a spinal tap & was told I had the “mildest case of GBS that they had ever seen.” I was given 5 PP treatments & sent home with a walker. Each day I lost more feeling & strength, & my husband would call the neuro on call down there, but we were told to wait it out. Within a few weeks I had no feeling below the neck, had lost the ability to walk completely, could not raise my arms, & had no use of my arms. I was then taken 5 hours by ambulance to the Mayo.
I often wonder what my condition would have been like had I had the IVIG before I got so bad. IVIG never helped me to get better, but once I got it I never got any worse. I was at Mayo 6 weeks before my dx was finally changed to “one of the worst cases of CIDP they had ever seen.” My point is, I believe most of us have horror stories at the onset of our illness, unless one presents totally paralyzed.
I don’t know of anyone who has tired suing, but if you think you have a good case, then go for it. Unfortunately with such a rare illness, how could one prove that what the doctor did was totally inappropriate? You might be better off conserving your energy for your job…
AnonymousJune 26, 2007 at 12:20 pm
I was originally misdiagnosed in an ER and sent home with dizziness. I was told by a lawyer, well you are better and will continue to get better so tough nuts w/a lawsuit!! Pretty much the same thing with the vaccine compensation thing through the government. You have to be permanently disabled, or dead, to win. 🙁
June 26, 2007 at 1:12 pm
Dear Dr. Shawn,
I have been wondering how you are, good to hear from you! I am sorry to hear you are not healing as quickly as you would like, but glad to hear that you are making some progress.
I also contemplated legal action against the doctor that mis dx Kevie. (psych dx) We currently owe him $134 and I refuse to pay him. He already received $1500 from the insurance and should consider himself lucky! Last week a letter from an attorney came seeking the monies. I wrote a letter stating that services had not been rendered and I refuse to pay and told him lets go to court. If forced to, I will pay the bill, but not until I know it cost him thousands to get that $134.
Anyway, God has blessed us in that Kevin has not suffered as some have on this forum. Is he perfect? Not physically, but he is stronger in so many other ways that make him more perfect than you can imagine. I bet you have acquired some new enhancing stregnths as well. I bet you are a more compassionate Dr., mom, friend spouse etc.
Your need to file suit sounds like anger and the need for retribution. I feel the same way! I am angry that this ever happened. The fact that days went by w/o proper dx does not change the fact that God had this disease in the cards for Kevie. Right now as I am writing, I am having this epiphany of sorts. If we were dx right away, I would not have known that Kevin peaked on Sept 1st, the day we saw this Dr. His mis dx afforded me the opportunity to have a true progression regarding time line. (his peaking by 2-3 weeks puts him in the time frame of gbs, as opposed to cidp) I am going to bring this up at our next visit. Furthermore, many people on the forum do not stop progression even with treatment. My point being, the unpredictability of this illness and lack of concrete documentation regarding its course would probably make it difficult to prove one way or another if the initial dx had any bearing on your current progress or lack there of.
I too feel that the doctor in some way should pay, I requested that he go before a medical review board of his peers. I want him to know that he has to be accountable for the lives that come to him. I want him to know that the hospital is watching him. I want him to be embarrassed and I want his ego bruised. Most importantly, I want him to think before he gives a dx.
I am not even the one ill, Kevie is, it takes alot to get through some days (depression I am sure ) I don’t think that I have any extra energy to pursue a long dragged out legal battle. I have to focus my energies on Kevie. I realize that your career and financial situation has suffered. We too have to worry about Kevies future, will he be able to work, will he always be this strong or will he relapse, will he be able to support himself? Money from a lawsuit would surely help, but it is not a guarantee we would even win. Is it possible to take a different direction? Could you sell your practice and maybe just work part time in a clinic situation? YOu would still be the wonderfully talented Doctor you are, just a less tired one with less headaches. You would still be able to help people! This way you could take care of yourself as well. I bet your family would love to have you around more.
I realize I have no idea of your personal situation, I DO know that this all really sucks and somehow we have to get over the anger then the grief and then deal with the present and hope for the future.
I am hopeful that you will keep improving and I hope you can hurdle the anger towards the doctor and just keep jumping the hurdles that come your way until one day all of the hurdles are jumped! Be strong! Whatever your decision is, lawsuit or not. Good luck to you and your family!
Dawn Kevies mom 😮
June 26, 2007 at 1:20 pm
I just read the post before me, and it jogged my memory, didn’t you have the flu vaccine prior to onset? I believe there is special compensation if you take that angle for a lawsuit. We communicated about this once before and I believe you felt that the time period did not fit regarding the shot being a trigger. I think you thought it was a couple of weeks. In fact, I read somewhere that the trigger could be as much as 6 weeks post immunization. Do you fit that criteria? Perhaps this would be an easier route regarding legal compensation? Some of the conditions were permanent damage (I believe you had the axonal form last time we communicated) As well as affecting your ability to work. I would say you fit that criteria. Once again, good luck! Dawn KEvies mom 😮
AnonymousJune 26, 2007 at 5:57 pm
Thanks for all the responses. I had flu vax 8 weeks prior to the GBS. I had(and the whole family) a viral syndrome 2 weeks prior. Pam I agree my biggest hurdle and the ultimate reason I probably won’t pursue is I really don’t have the physical energy to put up with a long drawn out suit. Dawn you have great advise. I have considered a different job(ie working at the residency program teaching) but I am the owner of my practice and once I give it up there is no going back. I still hope(hearing all your stories) that I may recover enough to work full time- then I would regret selling. As a mother I know is is so hard to see your child suffer. I know 2 mothers here in Jonesboro whose children had GBS and they are completly recovered. We have an excellent ped neurologist who DX them early. I have hope Kevie will con’t to improve(kids are amazing).
The one blessing – this has caused me to slow down-not work 11 hours a day-and be with my children. I can actually be the one to pick them up from preschool and play with them. I was missing out on alot.
Thank everybody for all your support! Dr. Shawn
AnonymousJune 26, 2007 at 8:45 pm
i was mis dx by a family doctor and it took a doctor in the er once I lost my legs to figure it out and that was because he had dealt with it before. I was paralyzed from the face all the way down to my toes, ventilator, PEG tube, IVIG, and I know I was dying at one point and my wife told me at one point my blood pressure was 80/30, lost 40 lbs. I still have pain in my legs but I THANK GOD I can walk, talk, eat, and be with my family because when you are dying that is all that you think about.
And by the way, I switched family doctor. I’m to old to spend years in court and jumping through all the hoops.
AnonymousJune 26, 2007 at 11:57 pm
I do understand how you feel. Five years ago I went to the ER and the doctor was a total jerk. He refused to even examine me till my friend called her husband who came and demanded it. Finally the second shift doc came on after I’d been there on the gurney for 8 hours. She sent me for a sonogram and I had Acute Pancreatitis. Within 24 hours I was dying and the staff couldn’t decide wether I would live through being transferred to a major trauma hospital 9 miles away.The head doc told me I would die within a few hours.
I remember the ride downtown and felt at peace-for some reason I wasn’t scared.
I was told if I lived I’d be in the hospital for 6 months to a year. I came home in one month. Wasn’t my time.
My dad is a physician and he tried his darnest to sue but the attorneys said I was alive and had no residue problems-go figure??? I also was too tired to do anything about it.
I went 6 years being wrongly diagnosed when I had CIDP-to often women are told we’re depressed or anxious. I was on crutches. How many folks who are supposively depressed can’t walk???
You have a right to be angry-I was for so long. Hopefully you can find an attorney but it’s hard as they want the easy cases.
AnonymousJune 27, 2007 at 1:38 am
i was misdiagnosed, and was told so by four other doctors. the problem is, they can’t (prove) that if i was diagnosed properly that i would have recovered better than i did. i’m also now on permanent disability. i went un treated for six months after being paralized, because my neurologist told me i was in a depression. there was nothing wrong with me, but i kept getting worse. i feel for you. my prayers are with you.
AnonymousJune 27, 2007 at 10:27 am
I got GBS in Jan 07 mine was from a flu shot I got in Nov 06. I didn’t think I had anything as my GBS came on slowley. about a week after the flu shot I started getting tingling in my feet and finally Jan 5th I could not walk anymore. I talked to my neuroligist last week and she agreed many many Drs do not know the signs of GBS.Maybe if someone can sue a Dr and it is made public it may save many from Drs guessing or do not care. My prayers are with you and do pray you will be successful in your efforts and this will say to doctors we are tired of your I don’t care attitude (Steve)
AnonymousJune 27, 2007 at 11:26 am
Hi Dr Shawn,
I agree with everyone but especially Mocha Cat. If anyone has a case and credibility in court it would be “you” being a physician yourself. Plus the fact you mentioned the possibility of GBS. Most of us had no clue what was happening to us at onset or at least I didn’t. I wouldn’t want to add anymore stress to your life though than you already have but it’s just the principal of the thing with some of these doctors who have such poor bedside manner and disregard us. Whatever you choose, you can bet “We” will all be 100% behind you. Take Care and I hope you feel stronger each day!
AnonymousJune 27, 2007 at 1:14 pm
DR Shawn if you sue we would support you. To many DR don’t realize the harm they are doing to patients. I had severe pain from my nerve biopsy it took about 10 weeks before I was given gabapentin for it. The ER Dr told me to stop coming in to see him. His treatment was icepack for the area and Advil. When you feel like somebody is putting a knife on top of your foot and twisting it well Advil and ice pack will not cut it.
Consult your lawyer(s) for advice
PS: Two years late I find out I have scar tissue Neuroma and tendinitis in the area because of my nerve biopsy Thank God for my Lyrica(switch to Lyrica from Gabapentin).
AnonymousJune 27, 2007 at 7:37 pm
Hi Dr. Shawn,
From your description of this neurologist, I’d be surprised if you didn’t have to get in line to file suit against him. I have a different angle on this subject, but I should warn you that it could be considered a “paranoid” point of view. (and a much more difficult case to prove)
Six months out is still a short time in terms of neurological healing – this illness can be expensive in so many more ways than just medical. I hope you will be able to continue your work without having to choose between your livihood and your health. My heartfelt wishes for a fortuitous turn of events in your health and career.
I too have contemplated, in theory, the possibility of a law suite – with a “twist”. My experiences with my daughter has had me wondering about the inner workings of medical practice: I personally think it is a very difficult time to be a physician – having to answer to insurance cos, managed health care, government regulations, and pressure from pharmas, not to mention the actual needs of the patients! It has occured to me on many occassions that my daughter’s diagnosis/treatment was determined by the wishes of administration. I have actually seen fear in doctors when we have returned in need of ivig. I have witnessed (stood in the hallway & listened) while a physician heatedly argued w/ hospital admins for the need to treat my daughter – then apologetically refered us on to yet another doctor for “further analysis”. In the beginning, we have had to justify each and every instance of ivig by agreeing to another spinal tap (intimidation & coersion), despite a diagnosis and a sharp decline. I quickly became a tough mom to deal with – I’m certain they have a huge psyche file on me!
Nevertheless, I am loathe to sue a doctor without understanding the dynamics behind the decisions that are handed down. Sue a hopsital (corporation)? — in a minute if I thought I had good documentation that their motives were not in the best interest of patient’s health. I mistakenly assumed that hospitals had a collaborative network of specialists that worked together within the system to tackle the “tough” cases that walk into their doors. It seems I misunderstood – a hospital is more like a mall- a physical location where each individual can be granted permission to practice medicine independently of another. In this environment, I can see how errors happen (unnecessarily). It does not excuse it though. I have often wondered how much (implied) pressure is placed on physicians to not discover, or delay, the nature of illness when a rare or chronic condition would pose a high expenditure onto the hospital?
These were the thoughts that plagued my mind as I waited in emergency rooms for 10 and 12 hours. Looking back, I wonder whose file is bigger – mine or my daughter’s.
AnonymousJune 28, 2007 at 6:32 pm
Thank you for all you responses. I have alot to think about. I really agree and see everybody’s views. I ironicaly see the Dr view also. We are generally overworked and tired and we hear so many complaints it is hard to ferret out what is real. But, this dr didn’t even try/listen. He really didn’t believe me. I hear this theme throughout this forum and it does help to know that I’m not the only one who has gone through this (unfortunatly). I also appreciate this is a very strange illness and frequently missed initially on Dx. I really appreciate everyones views- has brought up things I had not considered. Please keep it coming. It does seem not many have sued. Dr. Shawn
June 28, 2007 at 8:52 pm
I have thought about it, since the ER had me on a gurney for 12 hours and I was told “since whatever is wrong with you isnt lifethreatening we are treating other people before you”. I discussed GBS with the neuro, told him how and when it started, what I was experiencing, and why I believed it was GBS. The dr did run a lot of tests but even though he mentioned the nerve conduction test as a way of determining GBS, he never did it. He did the spinal and since that was negative he sent me home with the advice to seek professional help. After I got home, I got worse and I called that damn doctor several times BEGGING for a referral to another doctor or someone that would see me. He refused to return any of my phone calls. As I got worse and tried on my own to find a doctor (while waiting for my insurance to be approved), no one would bother with me or believe me. I suffered alone for 3 months before I got in to a dr who listened to my story and immediately said no doubt about it, GBS! After 3 months an answer was the only thing he could do for me.
During that time I forced myself to move, to walk, to function. Even though I strongly believe I was a breath away from waistdown paralysis (felt if I moved my legs that they wouldnt respond. This was a very real and very scary feeling…almost exactly the feeling I had during an epidural during childbirth.) This site and everyone here was my only sanity saver. Those who havent been thru it have no idea what you are going thru or how to properly help you. What I plan on doing is writing a letter to that doctor and telling him of my ordeal and thanking him for making me a stronger and smarter person. I hope he learns from it and doesnt think twice when someone else walks (?) in telling him the same things I did. As far as a lawsuit….YOU may get somewhere with one, but I’m a nobody and I would be laughed at. A letter will have to do in this case…at least I will feel better.
AnonymousJune 29, 2007 at 12:43 am
I did not mean to discourage you, but in the almost 5 years I have been reading this forum I have heard no one mention trying a lawsuit (other than the vaccination one.) As you probably already know, the doctors win like 80%of all medical malpractice suits that are filed. People see one large lawsuit win in the newspaper, & think that it is so easy. We did file a lawsuit back in the early 80s after I had given birth to a child in 1981 with a severe case of spina bifida. I had had a tubal ligation exactly a year previous to that, even though the doctor had already known then that the machines they were using were incompatible for a complete burn.
It was really a slam-dunk case for our attorney, as there had been a class action suit filed against this doctor even before my surgery. Even though the problem was known beforehand, this clinic still kept using the machine, even though our other clinic was referring everyone to Duluth, MN. Anyways, what should have been a simple lawsuit lasted 9 years, with many depositions, many trips down to the Twin Cities, etc. It was 9 years of hell for us, & we ended up finally settling out of court the first day of the trial. After the attorney took his 40% plus his 9 years of expenses, it was so not worth it.
I would never file another lawsuit under any circumstances. My only consolation is that we did put every penny away into investments back in 1990 & it has grown considerably, so that if my son can’t work some day, he will have a nice nest egg. But the stress it all took on having to keep all of this secret from our 3 children back then & even now, has been very hard on us. That is why I do not encourage people to try to sue doctors.
AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 at 12:48 am
One thing I have done to see how the medical folks have “labeled” me is to get my med records.I was totally shocked at the huge amount of wrong information”” The comments/assumptions by doctors who saw me for 5 minutes would of made me laugh if it hadn’t be so untrue.
I’m reading “How Doctors Think”-they listen for an average of 18 seconds before deciding on a diagnosis.Once they think this is the correct diagnosis (box) they all most refuse to check further for any other reason.
On another note…. Over 30 years ago my dad who was a physician at a metropolitan hospital told me how the same doctors were making terrible medical mistakes.He and other doctors knew this but no one did any internal house cleaning of bad doctors.Now we’ll all paying for this-literally and figuratively.
I read in the local newspaper how someone is suing for malpractice and I wonder how in the world they did find a lawyer. No one here I know could get one.
AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 at 11:43 am
Dr Shawn, I have yet to see the notes that I requested from my psych consult that was ordered by a dr at the second hospital I was at after my first week of paralysis. At the first hospital, the neuro told me I have gbs, I was not given any treatments and was gradually getting my movement back-thanks to the pts. After I was transferred to another hospital for inhouse pt, I had to have a psych consult-because I was told it is mandatory-later found out its not. Well this psych dr only heard one word I said-DIED.
History of what I had told him-Back on 2/26/99, I was at my pcp’s office for a Nubaine injection(to stop a migraine that was lasting for over 2 months straight). I was in a room and [COLOR=red]My Nurse[/COLOR][COLOR=black] gave me the injection, 1 min later my dr checked in on me, which only took about another minute and then left. I had to stay there for 15 mins just to make sure I would be alright. My husband was sitting in a chair, next to my daughter(who was 5 at the time) and with our son(who was 6 months old) in his carseat/rocker. Well the last thing I remember, before my experience, was my dr leaving the room. To make a really long story alittle shorter, I died from anaphylatic shock from the injection. Nobody knew that I had gone on an experience of a lifetime. Let me tell you, its something I will never forget, a once in a lifetime look into my future, is how I see it. [/COLOR]
Since I was seemingly just sleeping off the injection, nobody gave me another check, I was left alone on the table, in the exam room, while my hubby took the kids home to feed them and get my daughter on the school bus. While my hubby was gone, the nurse who took over for my nurse was supposed to check in on me-she didn’t do it at all. Afterwards my hubby came back to get me, to everyones surprise I wasn’t awake yet. So the nurse, my hubby and 2 other nurses helped get me into a wheelchair and took me out the front door(through the waiting room-you should have seen the other patients’ faces:D and to jokes made by my hubby at my expense) to my car. Since my hubby was off work to take me to the drs he needed a note, at that point my nurse just got back from her emergency drs’ appt and my hubby asked her for a note-which turns out to be the life saving moment. My nurse brought out the note and my hubby asked her if I was supposed to be sounding like I was having problems breathing-I guess I was in respiratory failure-at the point where I was trying to get back into my body. Yes all this time I was out of my body, floating around-visiting various places, including the very bright and beautiful, painless, relaxing place up above. I know it sounds impossible, but It is real and it did happen, of course I have made my long story into a shortened long story.
Now to get back to the point, the psych only heard me say I died, and he never understood I didn’t do it to myself. He labeled me as a Manic depressive, past suicidal attempt, depressive conversion disorder, just because he didn’t hear my whole story-which actually proves there are alot of mistakes that can be made just because one dr got the story wrong and didn’t listen to the rest of the story-gee that sounds familar-Paul Harvey:D . I have found a great number of wrong symptoms, complaints and information, that was changed from one hospital to another, even things that never happened to me, were put into my records. It wasn’t until this past Dec stay, that I heard for the first time, from a dr, that other drs have said I was suicidal and my allergic reaction to Nubain wasn’t an allergic reaction at all-I just overdosed! It all came to me one day this past April, I put everything that All the drs said to me, All together and figured out why I was being treated sooo differently then others on this site-although there are alot of similarities-the psych evals and soo on. As compared to the real things that have been happening to me, the way I have relapses and so on. I saw my neuro, who also let something slip, in front of my mom also, that made me speak up and set the record straight. She was actually shocked that I was given the information from the dr(about my supposed over dose) and was even more shocked after I told her who had actually given me the injection of Nubain-she sat there and looked like a deer caught in the headlights. My mom confirmed what I had told her and the neuro had absolutely nothing to say, except, well that changes things now doesn’t it. Needless to say I won’t be going back to that hospital, dr or to the other drs or hospital again. My neuro gave me everything I asked for and even offered to give the University the information that she has-Not, especially when its ALL wrong! I did get my referral to the University of Michigan, and if I am given a dx, other then the bs that the psych dx, then I will call my lawyer.
At least I have my pcp, who has known me for over 20 years, and who actually listens to me, so I don’t feel like this is nothing more then a large hill to over come, once again.:)
I do have to say, KUDOS to EVERYONE on this site, This Family is THE BEST!!! I would have never put 2 and 2 together if it weren’t for This Family.
I actually thought of my husband when I first saw this thread-He wants to sue the crap out of the Drs who dropped the ball on my care. Who knows how I would be, health wise, if I were taken seriously in the beginning, and All the other relapses that I have had. Stay positive Everyone!
AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 at 11:51 am
Seeing as your a Doc. before you got GBS did you know that your
not give Tetanus shot to someone who had GBS?
The reason I ask is I had GBS 9 years ago. I knew about the Flu shot,
however I just found out we are not to have Tetanus shots either. My GP gave me a Tetanus shot about 3 months ago. In my new patient exam I told him about my GBS history. He said well no Flu shot for you, but you will need a tetanus shot.
Just wondering your thoughts on this.
AnonymousJuly 2, 2007 at 6:23 pm
Wow. what an emotional thread. CD and limekat- There is alot of pressure on md’s. We have limited time to make DX. I must see a patient every 10 -15 minutes to make a living and pay my overhead. My malpractice insurance cost me 7,500 this year(and I have never been sued). This is not right it is just the way it is . We get payed well for doing(ie surgical) and poorly for thinking. There is very limited ways when can remove a doctor. We had one in my hometown and it took several years and loosing his liscene 3 times for him to move to Mexico. The ER is full of residents(in training), drop outs(those they couldn’t make it through a residency or couldn’t hold a practice). There are some very good Er doctors but they are the exception. ThePCP’s only power is withdrawing referrals from those specialist who are terrible. Most of my collegues are superb but there are bad apples. Fairly odd mother- I’m so sorry you also had such a delayed DX. Parker- I have to admit before I got GBS I only knew about the flu vac. We need to continue to research and educate ourselves so we can be our best advocates. I’m sure I now know more about GBS than any of my dr’s. Cheryl-I’m so sad to hear your story. So Scary. Pam – you have the best info. I am unwilling to spend the next 9 years messing with a suit. I have a family to look after.
I thank everyone for there stories and advise. Also nobody has responded with a story of a successful suit for GBS. Kids are fighting . Gotta go.Dr. Shawn
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.