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Case involving failure to diagnose leads to $45M award

A mother and her child were recently awarded $45 million in a case involving medical malpractice. The mother had filed the medical malpractice lawsuit on her son's behalf following doctors' failure to diagnose the boy's leg fracture back in 2005. The leg fracture stemmed from abuse that the boy suffered at his father's hands. Medical providers in West Virginia who fail to exercise a reasonable degree of care when diagnosing patients may be held liable, or legally responsible, through the civil court system.

According to the lawsuit, the boy -- who was just 2 months old when the fracture occurred -- ended up experiencing more of his father's abuse after physicians did not properly diagnose his leg injury and sent the boy home with his father and mother. The family returned to the hospital with the boy a few weeks later, at which time he was diagnosed as having serious head injuries. That is when the boy's father admitted that the head injuries had occurred because he had thrown his crying son into his crib.

The boy ended up suffering permanent damage to his brain. The father was sent to prison on charges of endangering and assault in 2008. In the malpractice case, liability was divided between two doctors who failed to diagnose the boy's injuries accurately and the boy's father.

No amount of money in West Virginia can undo the events leading to the harm a patient suffers due to doctors' failure to diagnose his or her condition. However, monetary compensation in a successfully fought malpractice case may help to cover medical costs and other related losses. It may also help to address pain and suffering along with emotional distress caused by the documented incident of malpractice.

Source: nj.com, "Abused infant reportedly awarded $45M in malpractice settlement", Matt Gray, Feb. 22, 2017

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