THOROUGH INVESTIGATIVE EFFORT AND IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF COMPLICATED SUBJECT MATTER ARE OFTEN KEYS TO WINNING LAWSUITS
ACCORDING TO TOP NEW YORK MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER
Diagnosing the underlying causes in patients who show up at emergency rooms complaining of neurological symptoms like dizziness, back pain, headaches, weakness in limbs or seizure-like disorders can be a very elusive, tricky business. And, when mistakes happen, little is known even among medical experts as to the reasons why emergency room physicians sometimes misdiagnose patients who present with these conditions, according to an article published last year in Emergency Medicine International Magazine,(EMI) a widely-respected medical journal.
According to the EMI article, approximately 5% of all emergency room patients present with some form of neurological symptom. And, while in recent years significant improvements have been made in the diagnosis of these often time-dependent neurological emergencies, under-diagnosis, or misdiagnosis of something as common as a headache can have disastrous consequences for the patient. And, yet, EMI noted, relatively little is known as to why emergency room doctors make these errors in judgment.
“A neurological presentation will invariably require some sort of test or procedure,” , Edward P. Milstein, partner in the New York medical malpractice law firm of Dankner Milstein P.C. said. “Without the results of a CT scan, mri lumbar puncture or other procedure, diagnosing a neurological condition is guesswork. Regrettably, many practitioners fail to order tests needed to diagnose the true condition.”
One of the primary causes of medical malpractice due to misdiagnosis of neurological symptoms in emergency rooms comes down to timing. As is often the case, attempts are made by ER physicians to identify root causes for neurological symptoms very early on in the diagnostic process, when the condition that may actually have been the one that caused the patient to rush to an ER for treatment in the first place is much less well-defined, or properly tested to determine the “etiologic” (causal) roots of the patient’s condition.
As a result, diagnosis of neurological symptoms are often tentative ones and specialists in neurology are often not on hand in the ER to make more precise, specific diagnoses of complaints about such things as head, neck and backaches, dizziness and other symptoms referenced earlier in this blogpost. Nor are the specialists available to make more accurate readings of routine neurological tests like CT scans, MRIs, lumbar punctures, electroencephalograms (EEGs), and others.
Further, according to EMI, ER patients who present with symptoms that do not on the surface appear life-threatening, are often triaged and made to wait sometimes too long for care, as in case of some stroke victims, where every minute the needed therapy is delayed puts the patient’s health, even their life, at risk.
“Liability will often attach,” Milstein explained, “when a manageable condition worsens over time. Brain injury due to bleeding or occlusion, for example, is often subtle yet could be a time sensitive condition that the practitioner needs to act upon quickly.
“It should come as no surprise,” Milstein added, “that many diagnoses would be quite different if patients who present with neurological symptoms when they arrive at the ER were given immediate access to a specialist trained to recognize neurological abnormalities and anomalies, and administer more revealing diagnostic tests, that the lesser experienced ER physician might overlook.”