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Amputee sues hospital for medical malpractice

Wisconsin readers may have heard about a recently filed lawsuit involving a man whose legs and hands were amputated. The story has made headlines across the nation, and it serves as a sobering reminder that receiving medical care involves a high level of trust in the health care providers who provide treatment, as well as the facilities that employ them. The medical malpractice suit may lead other patients to question the care that they receive, and to pay closer attention to the entire treatment process.

The patient, a former county correctional officer, originally sought treatment for a sore. Just days later, he returned to the hospital, this time complaining of shoulder pain. He was diagnosed with bursitis, and advised that the sore and the shoulder issue were unrelated.

However, it turned out that the man had a serious infection known as methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). The lawsuit centers on the fact that the man and his wife had spent a considerable amount of time in the same hospital in 2011, when their son was diagnosed and treated for a similar infection. In fact, the physician assistant who treated the boy also provided treatment for the father, but failed to diagnose the infection.

In the end, the man lost both of his feet and hands to the infection. A later surgery removed his lower legs. The family has filed this medical malpractice suit in the hopes that their case will cause the hospital to take responsibility for the series of events that led to the multiple amputations. There is no mention of the amount or type of damages sought by the man and his wife. It is hoped that this case not only brings a measure of financial relief to this family if negligence is proved, but that it also serves to remind individuals in Wisconsin and elsewhere that they must always take a proactive stance in ensuring that their health needs are adequately taken care of.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Amputee suing N. Calif. hospital for malpractice,” Nov. 16, 2012

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