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?