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What Happens When a Laceration is Improperly Treated?

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Over six million patients end up each year in emergency rooms or urgent care centers for treatment of lacerations. Besides stopping the bleeding, one of the most important aspects of care is avoiding infection. But if infection is already present and diagnosed by a doctor, an adequate standard of care must be followed.

Example of How Improper Treatment of a Laceration Can Result in a Medical Malpractice Claim

With regard to hand lacerations, any suspicion of injury involving tendon, nerve, muscle, vessels, bone, or the nail bed warrants immediate referral to a hand surgeon. Failure to do so can lead to acute complications, pain and suffering, and permanent damage to the patient.

Here’s a case in point. A man went to an emergency department for treatment of a laceration on his left hand that occurred at work the prior day. The wound had become swollen and was tender. The patient also had a fever. The doctor, a family medicine physician, diagnosed him as having an infected finger and infected subcutaneous tissue. But he did not order any blood work or other diagnostic test to determine the extent of the infection. The doctor also failed to order an immediate consultation with a hand surgeon for evaluation and timely treatment.

As a result, the following day the patient had to go to a hospital emergency room with worsening complaints related to the hand infection. Lab work and an X-ray of the hand showed a severe infection of the finger. The patient underwent surgery the next day. He remained in the hospital for aggressive IV antibiotic therapy.

In this case, unfortunately, the antibiotics didn’t prevent the spread of infection, and the patient underwent a further surgery several days later. This surgery resulted in the amputation of his left index finger and procedures involving his entire left hand and left forearm, including local tissue rearrangement. He also developed and was treated for acute kidney injury that required dialysis.

The doctor’s carelessness and neglect was seen in his failure to timely and appropriately treat the patient for limb threatening infection that included obtaining blood work, X-ray, and referring him immediately to a hand surgeon.

The doctor had a duty to exercise an acceptable and appropriate level of care, skill, and treatment under the circumstances but failed to do so. As a result, the patient was left with pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of income, and huge medical expenses.

Do You Think You May Have a Florida Medical Malpractice Case?

If you or anyone you know has experienced this type of medical negligence, you should talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Florida has strict time limits on when such a claim may be brought. Any delay in consulting with an attorney could result in an entirely lost opportunity to pursue a claim.

Contact us online or call our office directly at 888-207-0905 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.