Connecticut residents may be appalled when they learn that doctors diagnosed a woman as brain dead and refused to do surgery on her. However, her father filed a lawsuit against the medical facility and had two independent neurologists examine her who found that she was actually in a coma. They based this on the fact that the woman reacted by moving her elbow and head in response to stimulation.
The woman, who is hospitalized in California, has been in a coma since 2007 after she had a seizure related to her anorexia. She had developed a hip infection that doctors refused to operate on because they said it would not be ethical to do surgery on a person who was brain dead.
The man’s attorney said that misdiagnosing patients as brain dead was not uncommon. He said that doctors did so to justify not treating patients. However, there is a difference in being in a coma and being brain dead, and the latter is the state a person must be in before organ donation is possible. People who are brain dead are for the most part unable to breathe on their own.
If a person is harmed by a misdiagnosis of a brain injury or another illness, it can be devastating. A misdiagnosis may occur because a person does not fit a typical pattern of symptoms or because a doctor does not spend enough time in making it. If a certain type of treatment is necessary, the patient or family members may need to pursue their legal remedies in order to get it.