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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    23

    Angry Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    First let me say that I come from a family of doctors so my medical knowledge is pretty good although I am still a layman.

    My 8 year old daughter was bitten on her elbow by an Akita that belonged to a neighbor around 7 pm on a Thursday. My husband took her to the ER. When I arrived at hospital (1 hr later) the severe bruising on her arm indicated a break. She was unable to flex her arm nor did she have movement in her middle, ring and little fingers. I approached the ER doc and asked him to do an x-ray because it looked like a break to me. I also requested an MRI to see what nerve, tendon or ligament damage may have been done by the bite. He stated it was superficial and it didn't need an x-ray. We went back and forth over the issue that I did not believe this was a superficial wound. I asked him 3 times in front of to do x-rays each time he refused.

    He prescribed an antibiotic and pain killer and sent us home. I was told the the swelling and pain would subside in a few days and she would be able to move her fingers afterward. The swelling, according to him, was the reason for her inability to bend at the elbow and move her fingers. I was also told not to remove the bandages for 24 hrs.

    The next day, I called her pediatrician because she still could not move her fingers and she was not lucid. I told her doctor that I thought the arm was broken and the ER doc didn't really seem to be interested in making sure everything was okay neurologically either. We were given an appointment for later that day at 4 pm. I decided to let her doctor change the bandage after examining her. As soon as she unwrapped the bandage, I was told to immediately take her to Children's Hospital or Scottish Rite and that she would call ahead because she was dangerously ill. Not only did she believe the arm was broken but she also realized that she was suffering from a severe infection and was possibly septic and could lose her arm.

    We arrived at the new ER at about 5:30 pm. The first thing I was asked was "Who sutured up a dog bite?" I heard this many times. She was sent for x-rays which revealed that her arm was fractured. The infection not only caused a severe case cellulitis but also osteomyelitis because it went into her bone due to the break. This was not a superficial bite. The culture showed a severe resistant staph and strep infection. She was hospitalized for 6 days and is on expensive medications for the next six weeks. The first 24 hrs were touch and go as to whether she would required surgery. First they were thinking amputation and then with the gradual improvement there was the possibility of debridement of the wounds.

    He did not provide the proper standard of care and endangered her life. If not for my parents background, my daughter would have lost her arm or I would have been planning a funeral this week.

    My issue is that the doctor at the emergency room was negligent with how he treated the wound and blew off my request for xrays. Had he done the xrays, he would have seen that the bite was not superficial as he insisted and could have prevented the bone infection by following proper protocol. If I had listened to him and waited 3 days for the swelling to go down, she would have probably died. Now she has osteomyletis and will have to be on expensive antibiotics for several weeks to cure it.

    I notified the administration of the ER of the situation and was told that I would receive a call. No one has called in the past 8 days. An apology would have been nice.

    Would this qualify as gross negligence?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    I am going to start by stating that I hope your daughter's recovery goes well enough that a malpractice lawsuit isn't viable. By that I mean, unless the recovery is likely to be at least $30K, more often $60-$100+K, the cost of a medical malpractice case will usually be too high to justify proceeding with a lawsuit.

    That doesn't mean in your case that you would go without recovery. Assuming there's a negligence claim against the owner of the dog, the possibility of negligent medical care generally being a foreseeable consequence of an injury, your daughter may be able to get fully compensated through the neighbor's homeowner's insurance even without bringing a negligence claim against the doctor.

    With the caveat that I haven't seen the injury or the medical records, it does appear that the E.R. doctor provided clumsy, substandard care. But I again hope that despite the need for hospitalization and medicine your daughter proceeds to make a full recovery, as it really is in the absence of a full recovery that we would be talking about a viable malpractice case - as I see things, good health is better than money.

    I do suggest consulting with a lawyer, perhaps at a firm that handles both personal injury and medical negligence cases, about the situation and possible avenues of financial recovery.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    Thank you. So far she is making recovery although it looks as though she will probably need some physical therapy for her arm and hand.

    I have no desire to go after the dog owner simply because they are very nice, have been more than helpful and I do not hold them responsible. Also, I would like to preserve our neighborly relationship. Their son (12 yrs old) allowed my daughter to pet the dog while it was on a leash, although his parents told him that it was not allowed because the dog was not socialized with others outside the household. Kids are kids just as dogs are dogs.

    I understand completely what you are saying so I guess I could consider myself very lucky that my parents decided to go to medical school otherwise there would have been tragic circumstances. I just don't want this doctor to harm another child by being lazy.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    I believe Georgia would allow your daughter to pursue a negligence claim against the neighbor up to one year after her 18th birthday. The limitations period for a medical negligence claim is much shorter, even for a minor. Keep in mind that this is your daughter's claim and we may be talking about enough money to pay for a good part of her college education.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    I know....it's just difficult to consider what it could do to them when I know they are not having an easy time in this economy. They have offered so much. My anger is truly with the doctor because of his laziness. He has been the pediatric ER doc for many years and he and I have had several instances where I had to request tests that were necessary. Most docs today practice CYA medicine...he is either burned out or lazy and that is not acceptable when dealing with children.

    I have a lot to think about.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    I believe Georgia would allow your daughter to pursue a negligence claim against the neighbor up to one year after her 18th birthday. The limitations period for a medical negligence claim is much shorter, even for a minor. Keep in mind that this is your daughter's claim and we may be talking about enough money to pay for a good part of her college education.
    This is a very unfortunate attitude regarding whether or not a case should be pursued...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    New Jersey
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    3,658

    Default Re: Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    You heard "Who sutured up a dog bite?" because harmful microorganisms can grow inside a dogs bite wound and subsequently cause life-threatening infections. Dog bites that become infected are very serious and can result in limb amputation. Immediately following a dog bite, the wound should be thoroughly cleansed with warm soapy water and an antiseptic should be applied. The dog bite wound should be bandaged to let the bacteria escape and not sutured to trap the bacteria in the wound.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    supratentorial region
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: Medical Treatment Below Standard of Care in Georgia

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    You heard "Who sutured up a dog bite?" because harmful microorganisms can grow inside a dogs bite wound and subsequently cause life-threatening infections. Dog bites that become infected are very serious and can result in limb amputation. Immediately following a dog bite, the wound should be thoroughly cleansed with warm soapy water and an antiseptic should be applied. The dog bite wound should be bandaged to let the bacteria escape and not sutured to trap the bacteria in the wound.

    Well...that all depends....

    Although it is true that a dog bite (or any puncture wound) should never be sutured closed, it is not unusual to have a loose suture or two placed in larger wounds which will still allow any drainage while also preserving the integrity of the skin around the bite.

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