Kidney stones are a relatively common medical condition - in fact, it’s been estimated that 1 in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in their life. Although the condition can be painful and disruptive to everyday life, many patients are able to pass kidney stones naturally. However, in more serious cases, the stone may cause an infection or block the flow of urine, putting the patient’s life on the line if a doctor misdiagnosis their condition.
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There are four kinds of kidney stones that a patient can develop, including:
Kidney stones cause nearly half a million people to go to the emergency room every year. Typically, these patients present with symptoms such as:
Even though most stones can pass naturally, it is painful to pass a stone and a doctor may prescribe pain relievers.
If a stone is too large, it simply won’t pass. This is when additional treatments may be offered, including:
In this treatment, doctors use shock waves to try and break up the stone into smaller stones that can be passed. Unfortunately, it is not effective on all stones and the larger the stone, the less likely the treatment will work.
This is when an endoscope is passed into the ureter to either retrieve or break up a stone.
This surgical procedure is typically only used if the first two are unsuccessful or if the patient simply isn’t a candidate. A surgeon will make a cut into the patient’s back in order to get access to their kidney so that the stone can be surgically removed.
When a kidney stone requires additional treatment, doctors must move quickly, otherwise, their patients can suffer the consequences.
On March 1st, 2011, a 29-year-old woman went to the emergency room because she was in severe pain. Ultimately, she would be diagnosed with an infected kidney stone, however, according to her lawsuit, the on-call urologist failed to examine her for over 24 hours.
By the time she was examined, the infection was severe enough that she had to undergo a surgical procedure to drain the infection and place a stent. Then the plaintiff was hospitalized in the intensive care unit.
While in the ICU, the critical care physician administered a vasopressor which is a type of drug that constricts the blood vessels and helps prevent the loss of water. However, patients should be closely monitored for loss of circulation. This time, the doctors failed to monitor their patients.
By the time anyone noticed, the plaintiff had lost circulation in her extremities and the result was the loss of both of her legs below the knee and one hand. She has been unable to return to work and had to wear a prosthesis.
She sued several doctors and the hospital, alleging that they failed to treat her kidney stone in a timely manner and that they failed to monitor her after giving her the vasopressor. The case went to trial and the jury ultimately sided with the plaintiff, awarded her more than $24 million for her losses.
Sadly, this is just one of the thousands of medical malpractice cases that will go to court this year because doctors fail to do what is right for their patients.
If you or a loved one have suffered because of the poor care a doctor gave you, contact our law firm today. You may be owed significant compensation.
Continue reading more on medical malpractice lawsuits: Patient Wins $800,000 After Misdiagnosis