A federal inmate felt a small, swollen spot near his right armpit. As the bump started to get larger, he attempted to contact the administration of a federal prison to obtain an appointment with a medical physician. However, for more than 18 months, he remained unsuccessful. The inmate's fears were validated when the lump turned out to be non-Hodgkin lymphoma -- a type of cancer that spreads through the lymph nodes. Unfortunately, he did not get a CT scan on the lump until the cancer had spread substantially. He eventually passed away in 2010, a year after his release from prison. In Dearborn, Michigan, the former inmate and his family sued the federal government in the U.S. District Court in Pikeville -- both in 2009 and 2010. Both suits were for negligence as it related to a failure to diagnose his cancer, which led to his worsened condition. The family eventually settled out of court for an amount totaling $975,000.
A failure to diagnose the real cause of a 7-year-old's fever could have led to a deadly scenario. Instead, a persistent doctor identified the first case of bubonic plague to appear in Colorado in more than six years.The girl's parents were convinced that she had more than the flu, but when her fever reached 107 degrees, a sharp emergency room physician insisted that she be airlifted to a children's hospital in Denver where her condition was finally identified. It is believed she contracted the bacteria while trying to bury a squirrel on a family camping trip.
Last week we wrote about a botched kidney transplant that shut down a hospital's transplant program. While many may think that an incident like this one is rare, surgical errors and other transplant-related problems have resulted in the closing of transplant programs in hospitals and medical centers throughout the country. Although the health care facilities voluntarily withdrew from the transplant program, surgical errors occurring during these important procedures is concerning. In May 2011, a mistake occurred in Pittsburgh after a patient developed Hepatitis C after the patient received a kidney transplant. A negligent surgeon and a negligent operating room staff nurse were disciplined after the incident.
Denver residents put their lives in their doctors' hands every day. We expect that the physicians we see and the staff members who work with know what they're doing, and we trust them to always put the patients' needs first. Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made, leading to serious injury or even death for victims.