In the world of personal injury, inactions can be just as harmful as actions. A clear example is a medical malpractice case in which a healthcare provider fails to take appropriate steps, leading to patient injuries. This might include the failure to diagnose certain illnesses, the failure to prescribe certain medications, or the failure to monitor a patient’s life signs. A recent medical malpractice lawsuit in New Jersey has led to a settlement of almost $1 million, and it involves the failure to order CT scans. This case shows that patients have clear rights in the Garden State, especially when their doctors fail to provide a certain standard of care.
Patient Left Completely Blind Due to Lack of CT Scans
On September 13, it was reported that a New Jersey patient had received a settlement of almost $1 million after filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against her neurologist. She alleged that this healthcare provider failed to order CT scans and that this inaction led to the deterioration of her vision to the point where she is now completely blind.
Even before she approached the physician, this patient had only one good eye remaining due to a condition known as sphenoid wing meningioma. This condition involves slow-growing tumors that eventually spread to the orbit, and it is the most common form of basal meningiomas. This is technically a type of benign brain tumor, and the most common treatment is surgery or radiation. In this case, the patient was forced to have the entire eye removed.
After losing her eye, she received treatment from a neurologist over the course of nine years. During the first five years of this patient-doctor relationship, the neurologist ordered regular CT scans to check for the development of new benign tumors. However, the neurologist abruptly stopped ordering the CT scans after this five-year period. For the remaining four years, there were no CT scans.
Finally, a new CT scan after this four-year period revealed a large meningioma in her remaining eye. Because of the advanced state of the tumor, there was little doctors could do to help the woman. As a result, she went completely blind.
In response, the defendant offered no real explanation as to why the CT scans suddenly ceased. He did, however, argue that he focused entirely on pain management and did not consider himself to be the primary provider for other treatments. He also stated that he believed the patient would seek help from additional providers for everything outside of pain management.
Obviously, this argument was not sufficient, and the defendant’s argument raises a host of questions. If he was primarily focused on pain management, then why did he order regular CT scans for a full five years? Did he ever inform the patient that she should seek treatment from other providers, or did he simply assume that she would somehow figure out her own medical needs without any guidance?
Whatever the case may be, the case never went to trial (as is the norm). Instead, it was settled out of court for $925,000. While this might seem like a lot of money, one has to wonder whether the settlement will cover the patient’s total damages. Living as a visually impaired individual is incredibly challenging, and the ongoing costs of assistance with daily tasks can quickly add up.
Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit if My Doctor Fails to Act?
Patients can indeed file medical malpractice lawsuits if they experience harm due to their healthcare providers’ inactions. There are many potential examples of this, and it might be best to consult with an attorney to determine whether or not you can sue. Note that medical malpractice lawsuits can be challenging in New Jersey, as doctors are typically let off the hook for smaller errors.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in New Jersey?
If you have been searching for a qualified personal injury attorney in New Jersey, look no further than Lependorf & Silverstein. We know that patients often suffer very real injuries due to the inactions of their healthcare providers. The lawsuit involving the blind patient is only one example of this, and the truth is that these negligent failures occur all the time in the Garden State. If you believe you have suffered harm due to a healthcare provider’s inaction, consider getting in touch with us today. During an initial consultation, we can work together to determine the most appropriate course of action.