Clinic Ordered to Pay $29M for Delayed Diagnosis

Connecticut patients potentially dealing with a misdiagnosis may be interested to learn that a clinic was ordered to pay about $29 million in compensation after specialists were unable to diagnose a patient’s condition. The jury determined that the woman’s condition, although rare, could have been treated without major complications if the clinic had taken measures to provide her with a timely diagnosis and treatment.

The patient said that she and her family had to plead with specialists to perform diagnostic tests after she began to experience the symptoms of Wilson’s Disease, a rare genetic disorder that can cause excessive copper levels to build in vital organs. The liver and brain are often the most critical, as unsafe levels of copper can result in permanent brain damage and an impact to cognition and speech. According to the lawsuit, the patient was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety even though her family insisted on neurological testing. The delay in testing caused the patient to lose her ability to eat normally and walk. She also suffered speech impairment and muscle spasms.

The doctor who delayed the diagnostic tests for more than five months was ultimately dismissed from the lawsuit. Instead, the clinic where the delayed diagnosis was made was responsible for the entire amount of compensation, though the clinic administrators claimed that the care that was provided was adequate.

In Connecticut, a patient may seek compensation if he or she suffers serious medical complications after a failure to diagnose a disease was the result of negligence. A medical malpractice attorney will need to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the jury that such failure constituted a breach of the duty to provide reasonable care to the patient.