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Prisons pay $350K for medical negligence

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which oversees the state's prisons, has agreed to a $350,000 settlement for a claim made by a former inmate for failure to diagnose a herniation of his spine. The victim was incarcerated at the Belmont Correctional Institution in 2008 when he visited the prison's physician for numbness of his left leg and weakness in his left hand.

At the time, the prison physician recommended an electromyogram and a nerve conduction study rather than an MRI of the cervical spine. The MRI had been recommended by an emergency room physician but was not performed until seven weeks after the initial tests, at which time the spine herniation was discovered. The prisoner filed a lawsuit alleging that the prison doctor failed to properly diagnose his condition by refusing to perform the recommended test.

The prison has declined to comment on the settlement, but the Court of Claims announced the amount agreed upon by the parties. There is no word on whether the doctor involved will face any disciplinary action by the prison board or state medical board or if there have been any punitive measures taken by the state prison as an employer.

Failure to diagnose a medical condition is a serious breach of the duty owed by a physician to his or her patients. When a doctor fails to properly diagnose a medical condition, the patient can suffer serious injury or even death. In these cases, victims may be entitled to recover damages from the doctor who has misdiagnosed their conditions as well as from any employers or organizations with whom the doctor may be associated. A medical malpractice attorney can assess misdiagnosis cases and assist victims in recovering for these damages.

Source: tribtoday.com, "Ohio prisons department pays $350K to settle claim," Jan. 8, 2013

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