What is considered a substantial injury?

February 8, 2018


A friend of mine recently had to undergo emergency surgery for a Spinal Cord Abscess. I wrote to avvo asking if the emergency room doctor could be held liable for a misdiagnosis and was told only if he has suffered a substantial injury. He had perfectly functioning kidneys and now he has kidney failure and the doctor wants him to go for dialysis. He has a central line in his chest and nurses have to come every day to inject antibiotics into it. The doctor said he will be on antibiotics for months. He tested positive for MRSA which is why he is on the antibiotics. He has paralysis in his upper arms and needs help dressing and bathing. Would those things be considered substantial injuries?


Please don't rely on internet advice alone. Of course his injuries are "substantial". If he presented with 'classic signs and symptoms' should the ER doctor have ordered an MRI and found it earlier? Would it have made a difference? Expert review of the patient's chart is needed to see what was medically indicated, but not done. If there was a 'departure in the standard of care' and the departure alleged is a delayed (or missed) diagnosis, AND the delay itself caused serious additional injury...(beyond what the patient presented with) or a missed opportunity to avoid serious harm, then it may well be a case. It depends on the time frame, among many other things. Your friend's entire hospital chart needs to be obtained and reviewed! Don't delay in taking it to a medical malpractice lawyer.

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