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Estate of Pennsylvania woman receives award for misdiagnosis

The estate of a Pennsylvania woman has received close to $2 million as settlement for an emergency room misdiagnosis that eventually culminated in her death. The woman died after giving birth to a premature baby. The representation for the estate argued that the misdiagnosis resulted from negligence on the part of the emergency room.

The woman was six months pregnant and had gone to the emergency room with signs of pneumonia. A hospital report did not state what the original diagnosis was, just that the woman had been sent home with antibiotics. When her condition worsened over the next couple of days, she returned to the hospital where hospital staff then diagnosed her with pneumonia in both lungs and sepsis. As a result, she had to give premature birth to her child by cesarean section. A few days later, the woman died.

The woman's representative stated that the misdiagnosis during her first visit could have been avoided had instructions for a chest x-ray been given. The x-ray probably would have shown she had pneumonia and she would have received proper treatment. The defendant argued that the woman did not show signs of pneumonia and the correct diagnosis was made. The defendant also stated the woman 'would have died anyway' as her condition was so critical.

The wrongful death suit was originally directed against not only the Pennsylvania hospital, but also the two physicians who treated the woman. The report stated that the hospital and one of the doctors were dismissed with prejudice before the jury trial began, but did not state the reason. Even though her children would have their mother had she not died from a misdiagnosis, the monetary award will be beneficial in the raising of the two daughters the 25-year-old woman left behind.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Estate of Philly woman who died from pneumonia after premature labor awarded nearly $2 million," Jon Campisi, July 8, 2013

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