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Failure to diagnose a medical condition is a common cause of harm to patients and their families. In Houston, Texas a jury recently returned a 4.2 million dollar award to a woman who lost her husband when a doctor failed to diagnose a “simple, straightforward” condition. Lancer Windrum, a 46 year old man, went to his local emergency room, complaining of headaches, slurred speech and confusion. To most doctors, these symptoms are classic symptoms of hydrocephalus, which is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid. This was Mr. Windrum’s fourth such episode in the last eight months. The emergency room doctors ordered a CT scan and an MRI. Both tests clearly revealed the fluid buildup. This condition could have been easily fixed by draining the fluid. The doctor who reviewed the tests incorrectly concluded that Mr. Windrum did not have hydrocephalus and sent him home. Mr. Windrum visited the doctor on other occasions after the emergency room visit with the same symptoms and the doctor again committed a failure to diagnose mistake and sent him home. Three months later, the patient died at home.
According to the attorney that represented the family, “This was a simple, straightforward diagnosis backed up by an unambiguous MRI. Dr. Kareh was breathtakingly negligent.” Unfortunately, this type of failure to diagnose cost Mr. Windrum his life and is more common than many people want to believe. Failure to diagnose malpractice is a doctor mistake that can take many forms. There can be the failure to diagnose acute problems such as hydrocephalus or heart attack. There can also be failure to diagnose breast cancer, failure to diagnose prostate cancer, failure to diagnose lung cancer, failure to diagnose skin cancer or other conditions. In our practice, we deal with failure to diagnose malpractice on a regular basis. If you would like more information about failure to diagnose malpractice, call the attorneys at The O’Keefe Firm at 937-634-0600.