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A failure to diagnose leads to amputation of student’s arm

A former Ohio University student is claiming that an incorrect diagnosis led to her arm being unnecessarily amputated. The student had three times reported to the medical facility complaining about severe pain, fever and nausea. Each time she was mistakenly diagnosed with sore throat, muscle pain and anxiety when in fact she was suffering from a flesh eating bacterium known as necrotizing fasciitis.

The challenge the young woman faces in court are caps that have been placed on medical malpractice claims in the state of Ohio. Such caps include a ban on punitive damages and a $250,000 limit on non-economic damages that do not represent “actual loss.” Essentially, this would prevent her from recovering attorney fees or making any claim concerning pain and suffering.

Due to such stringent limitations in damages, the attorney for the student is trying to have the case tried in Franklin County Common Pleas Court instead of the Court of Claims. This strategy is being pursued in hopes that the student can pursue additional damages for what has occurred. The strategy may be difficult to legally achieve, but it does demonstrate why victims of medical malpractice should consult with attorneys experienced in dealing with Ohio law.

The family of the student believes that she deserves at least $3 million in damages. Though such a figure may seem high, it’s difficult to put a price tag on the needless loss of an arm – especially for someone so young. Such a loss will likely provide an obstacle to performance of tasks and enjoyment of life every single day for the remainder of this young woman’s life.

Hospitals do need to be held accountable for such medical mistakes.

Source: The Athens News, “Former student suing OU over amputation seeks to lift cap on damage payments,” by Jim Phillips, June 10, 2012

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