What Happens When Your Doctor Fails to Diagnose and Treat Chronic Kidney Disease?

Laptop that says Chronic Kidney Disease Jim Dodson LawChronic kidney disease, or CKD, is the most under-recognized public health crisis in the US, according to the National Kidney Foundation, affecting an estimated 37 million people—15 percent of adults. And more than 660,000 Americans are being treated for kidney failure, which is stage five of end stage renal disease.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD & What are the Causes?

Chronic kidney disease means that your kidneys are damaged to the point of losing their ability to clear out body wastes and excess fluid. You may develop other problems such as anemia, high blood pressure, weak bones, poor nutritional health, and nerve damage.

Because kidneys are so critical to the body’s healthy functioning, CKD increases the risk of having heart and blood vessel disease, happening slowly and without symptoms in the early or undetected stages. The two main causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure. If and when kidneys fail, the only options are dialysis or kidney transplant.

When symptoms of kidney disease are present, it is vital that primary care physicians test for a key indicator of renal disease, the Glomerular Filtration rate (“GFR”). It is the best test to measure the level of kidney function and determine the stage of kidney disease. A falling GFR, combined with a dangerously high Creatinine level, are both signs of renal injury or failure.

Example of What Happens to a Patient if a Doctor Fails to Diagnose Chronic Kidney Disease

Here is a case in point. A male patient was under the long term care of a primary care doctor. The patient was routinely given tests for kidney function, blood sugar, and cholesterol. At a certain point in time, however, the doctor failed to diagnose and treat a falling GFR that continued for two more years. By that time the patient’s GFR was dangerously low and his Creatinine level was dangerously high.

The patient collapsed and was taken to a hospital emergency room where lab test reports showed that his Creatinine level was 9157 Units/L at the time he arrived; the normal range is 39-308 Units/L. The patient had gone into extreme renal failure, suffered a heart attack, and died a day later.

Failure to exercise the accepted standard of care showed itself in three ways: failure to timely recognize a falling Golmerular Filtration Rate (GFR) in blood tests over a two-year period; failure to timely and appropriately treat the patient to correct his falling GFR; and failure to timely and appropriately manage his medication regimen including, but not limited to a drug known to cause changes in renal function including acute renal failure.

It’s important to note that acute renal failure is not always permanent. With adequate treatment, such as dialysis or transplant, the patient may go on to live for many years. In this particular case, tragically, the consequences resulted in the patient’s untimely death.

Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you believe you may have a Florida medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, in order to comply with Florida’s pre-suit investigation requirements, and the strict time limits involved.  Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.815.6398 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Even if we are unable to take on your case, we always do our best to suggest other attorneys who can assist you.

It's important to keep in mind, in order to have a solid medical malpractice claim your doctor or surgeon must have been negligent in performing their services or diagnosis. Not every case will qualify as medical malpractice.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.