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Misdiagnosis Leads to Life of Heart Transplants for Teen


On August 13, 2013, a radiologist misdiagnosed heart failure for walking pneumonia in a fifteen-year-old Maryland teen. When his condition did not improve, he went to the emergency room where the emergency room physician correctly diagnosed heart failure but did not stop the administration of fluids, which worsened the teen’s condition.
Improper Treatment Continues after Airlift

He was then airlifted to another local hospital. The emergency room physician changed his diagnosed from heart failure to septic shock and continued to administer him more fluids. The treatment for septic shock differs greatly than treatment for heart failure. The standard protocol for treating a patient with heart failure, or even a suspicion of heart failure, is to withhold fluids until the diagnosis is confirmed, or restrict fluids and begin diuretics if the diagnosis is confirmed. The teen continued to receive treatment for septic shock for another fourteen hours, even though his heart failure kept worsening.

Eventually the teen was given appropriate treatment and he started to improve. Unfortunately irreversible damage had been done to his heart. The large quantity of fluids he received had stretched his heart muscles past the point where it could not regain enough function to support him without intervention.

Four months later the teen underwent a heart transplant, and will likely require future transplants.

Once appropriate treatment was administered, the teen’s condition began to improve. Irreversible damage had already been done to his heart, however, as the large quantity of fluids he had received had stretched his heart muscle past the point where it could regain enough function to support the teen.
Misdiagnosis and Improper Treatment

Failure to appropriately diagnose a patient is one of the most common types of medical errors and it occurs all too frequently. In the teen’s case, if the treating doctor had discovered his condition, or made a different diagnosis in time, he likely would not have needed a heart transplant and could have enjoyed a full recovery.

Improper treatment is also common, and was a factor in the teen’s case because he continued to receive fluids when he should not have. Improper treatment can also occur when a doctor prescribes an appropriate treatment but administers it incorrectly.
Have a Solid Legal Team on Your Side

The law firm of Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen is committed to protecting your rights. Our attorneys consult and work closely with some of the most talented and credible professionals in the medical field when handling medical malpractice claims. If you believe that you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, we welcome your call today at (702) 728-4686.

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