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    Medical Negligence

    Misdiagnosis: A large category of medical negligence cases, arise from misdiagnosis by a healthcare provider.  If you or your loved one has suffered injury as a result of a misdiagnosis, contact Kopfler & Hermann.

    Case Study

    On December 23, 2018, 48-year-old Tracey Harrison presented to Slidell Memorial Hospital Emergency Room.  She was complaining of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain all over, shortness of breath, symptoms described as intractable.  She was complaining of generalized malaise, weakness, shortness of breath, body aches, chills, fatigue, no fever, abdominal pain, nausea, abdominal cramps in addition to vomiting and diarrhea.  She had trouble walking and was weak.

    At the initial admission blood samples were drawn from the left and right hand of Tracey Harrison based on an order from the emergency room physician.  The following day on December 24th the hospital lab reported the blood samples to contain gram-positive cocci, an indication of a bacterial infection.

    The physician who rendered care, treated Harrison with intravenous antibiotics.   A preliminary positive culture was reported December 25, 2018 of all samples collected from the right and left hands.  The blood cultures of Harrison were growing coagulase negative staph.

    An infectious disease doctor made a mistake in diagnosis.  She thought the positive laboratory findings was a contaminated sample.  The infectious disease doctor mistakenly communicated with the patient rather than consulting with the staff that had drawn the samples or even reviewing the record of the patient.

    If the infectious disease doctor had conducted a review of the medical record, she would have seen the samples were taken from separate extremities.  Under acceptable medical practice this reduces the possibility of a contaminated sample to a very insignificant percentage.

    Detection of bacteria in the blood is always abnormal and can have severe consequences.  The immune response from bacteria can cause sepsis and septic shock which has a relatively high mortality rate.  For bacteria in the blood, treatment is with antibiotics, which treatment in this patient was terminated mistakenly by the infectious disease doctor. Added to the mistake, no antibiotics were ordered for the patient post-discharge that Christmas morning.

    While a blood culture of coagulase negative staphylococcus can be contaminated, the health care provider must pay attention to the type of bacteria.  When there is a finding of staphylococcus lugdenensis reported in the final lab report 2 days later, it is imperative to investigate any lab findings. This is more so when there is more than one sample reported positive from blood cultures.

    In the case of Harrison there were 3 different reports of a positive finding from all bottles.  Staphylococcus lugdenensis is an extremely dangerous bacterium.

    This untreated bacterial infection led to a heart infection, stroke, sepsis and death.

    If you or any of your loved ones have suffered injury or death as a result of a misdiagnosis consult Kopfler & Hermann so that your claim can be properly evaluated.