What this article, and many others, allegedly fails to mention is that she was diagnosed on her third consecutive visit to the hospital. The first two times she visited in the two days prior, she complained of pain and skin discoloration, but was sent back with painkillers. If this is all true, she should sue the doctors responsible for misdiagnosis. It doesn't matter how rare it is; doctors most likely know about NF before they receive their PhD.
Niels0827 wrote:...she was diagnosed on her third consecutive visit to the hospital. ...It doesn't matter how rare it is; doctors most likely know about NF before they receive their PhD.
Physicians technically don't get Doctorate degrees, and they are usually specialized in their training. Unless someone specializes in pathogens, they might come across information on necrotizing fasciitis, but would probably know very little about it. Staph aureus is the flesh-eating bacteria the average physician would be most familiar with, because it's fairly common and can be a huge problem in hospitals.
Also, physicians that do specialize in infectious diseases are generally told something along the lines of, "When you hear galloping hooves, it's not going to be zebras, it's going to be horses." Necrotizing fasciitis is a zebra. She had been given some antibiotics on her second visit, but they assumed the infection was something standard ("horses") and the antibiotics given were insufficient. This is completely tragic, and she perhaps should have been admitted for observation due to the pain she was having, but given the resources an average hospital (and patient, for that matter) actually have, admitting everyone with an injury isn't practical. There just isn't room for all the patients that come through the ER, and staying overnight in a hospital is beyond the means of most people. Obviously, this particular instance has proven very costly in both time and the suffering of that poor girl, but this instance is far from standard.
Furthermore, it's likely that a nurse or two was involved in getting this girl taken care of, and something like necrotizing fasciitis isn't even going to be on a nurse's radar. Yeah, they study microbiology, but something that rare probably isn't going to be a focus of nurse training.
In any case, doctors and nurses can't be constantly on the lookout for something this rare. The resources just don't exist to be checking and observing for it in every case of injury. They always warn to be on the lookout for infection, but if they said, "You should also be on the lookout for this really dangerous infection that doesn't cause swelling or redness, but can really hurt..." they would be just flooded with panicked people coming back and saying, "My injury hurts! Am I going to die?" Again, sufficient resources don't exist for that sort of response, because it's only going to be a problem for one case out of a few billion, and the rest is wasted time taken from other patients who need stitches or traction or whatever.
So no, I'm sorry, the hospital should not be sued for this. They patched her up, then they gave her antibiotics and painkillers when she came in again, which is standard practice. They did what they were supposed to do, and what works for 99.999999% of patients. There's no malpractice here, just horrifically bad luck. Calling something like this malpractice or negligence would make malpractice insurance premiums so high that no physician could actually practice. It would hurt everyone.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013 ... nic-hands/
"The hands are sensitive enough to choose individual potato chips and place it in her mouth and are capable of 24 different movements."
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