When a general practitioner has a medical condition that requires the expertise of a specialist, and for whatever reason fails to refer to a specialist or realize that a specialist is needed, a strong argument can be made that the general practitioner is needlessly endangered his or her patient if the patient suffers a medical injury.
A man was working in his yard when he fell and hit his head.
He immediately complained of neck pain, an extreme headache (the worst headache he ever had in his life), blurred vision, dizziness, and nausea.
Because of his complaints his wife immediately drove him to the emergency room.
While at the emergency room he was seen by a doctor.
X-Rays and other tests were done.
The immediate results showed no evidence of brain trauma, but it did reveal evidence of “whiplash.”
As a result, he was given a neck support and Tylenol.
However, his doctor did explain that the patient needed to follow up with his family doctor and immediately report any changes in his medical condition.
That night the patient continued to experience the symptoms explained in the emergency room, but this time he had a hard time urinating.
The next day the patient contacted his family doctor and explained all of his symptoms, especially pain in his face, eyes, and the back of his head.
The family doctor took all of this information and informed the patient that the symptoms were all still associated with whiplash and prescribed more medication for the patient.
A week passed and the patient contacted the family doctor again complaining of severe head and face pain.
The patient’s wife suggested that her husband needed to be seen by a neurologist but the family doctor overrode her and said that all was needed was for the patient to see a radiologist for a CT scan, which was done and was negative.
Weeks later the patient was working when all of a sudden a severe headache occurred, he lost vision and began to vomit.
Paramedics rushed him to the hospital and the neurologist at the hospital reviewed the earlier CT scan that was done on the patient.
According to the neurologist, the scan clearly showed a brain hemorrhage.
Unfortunately, the patient died while in the hospital and the autopsy revealed a ruptured aneurysm.
If your loved one has died and you think that it was because your family doctor clearly missed signs which should have alerted the need for a specialist, this is what we invite you to do if your matter happened in Maryland.
It costs you absolutely nothing to do this.
Pick up the phone and give us a call.
We can be reached at 301-850-4832.
We answer medical malpractice questions like yours all the time and we would be happy to listen to your story.