The failure of medical providers to conduct sufficient diagnostic testing of patients is a substantial source of medical malpractice claims both here in Oregon and nationwide. When doctors at an urgent care center examine a patient with complaints of acute pain, they must make an adequate physical examination and conduct those tests indicated by the symptoms. If the medical providers fail in that basic requirement, they may become liable for the patient's injuries and long-term damages caused by their misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.
That type of malpractice is indicated in a case in another state where a court recently awarded a husband and wife the total sum of nearly $4.5 million in compensation for the medical malpractice of defendant doctors and the urgent care center where they saw the man. Apparently, the patient came to the defendants complaining of pain from a work accident. The medical personnel of the clinic gave him a shot of pain killer, a prescription and sent him back to work.
The patient returned a second time, in a condition where he allegedly could barely walk. The doctor who examined him gave him a prescription for more pain medication and again sent him back to work. After that, the patient became worse and had to go to a hospital emergency room where doctors diagnosed him with a disorder involving a compression on the spinal nerve roots. He ultimately became permanently paralyzed in his legs due to a lack of early treatment.
As it turned out, he had a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome, which caused the decedent's condition to worsen due to it not being quickly detected and treated. The case was heard by a trial judge without a jury. The judge agreed that the defendants had committed medical negligence in the form of a misdiagnosis and, essentially, the failure to diagnose. The judge's order consisted of $4.25 million to the patient and $450,000 to his wife for loss of consortium. Misdiagnosis is a fairly common reason for malpractice awards and settlements in Oregon.
Source: news-sentinel.com, "Goshen couple wins $4.25 million in medical malpractice case", Sharon Hernandez, July 24, 2016