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Parents prevented from filing medical malpractice claim

The laws governing instances of medical malpractice can vary greatly from state to state. From damage award caps to statutes of limitations and more, many nuances exist in this area of law. Pennsylvania residents who have been affected by a failure to diagnose a condition can be left with lifelong damage as a result. In some cases, loss of life occurs and family members are the ones left to grieve.

A missed diagnosis was at the heart of a situation that led to the death of a patient in Wisconsin. The woman was legally an adult—20 years old—unmarried and with no children, as are many people of that age. Sadly, her legal adult status and lack of a spouse prevents anyone from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit on her behalf per state law. At best, her parents were able to establish an estate on her behalf and attempt to receive compensation for damages related only to the two-week period which preceded her death. No compensation could be sought for her wrongful death at all.

For this young woman, a fatal heart condition was mistakenly diagnosed as pneumonia for which she was prescribed antibiotics. The resulting worsened condition left the woman in a state of heart failure by the time the real problem was identified. Along the way, the woman was also given medication to treat suspected parasites.

It does not always require a lot of time for the acts of even just one negligent physician to cause grave injury or death, as in the case above. Because of the intricacies involved in the law, victims or family members may find it helpful to talk to an attorney after such experiences to learn what options exist for them.

Source: The Cap Times, “Wisconsin’s medical malpractice ‘loophole’,” Jack Craver, July 22, 2014

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