Texas Health Presbyterian is showing on a grand scale how simple mistakes of miscommunication and medical errors lead to catastrophic results. On September 25, 2014, Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who would become the first patient in the U.S. diagnosed with Ebola, presented to Texas Health Presbyterian with a feverish illness. He told health care workers that he had recently been to Liberia. He clearly met the criteria for Ebola quarantine but was sent home by the hospital. Three days later he returned to the hospital and was diagnosed with Ebola. Last week, he died of the disease, after exposing many.
On October 2, the Dallas hospital issued a statement blaming electronic records for the error, but only a day later, the hospital admitted there never was an electronic problem with medical records, and the miscommunication was a human failure.
When patients present with life-threatening symptoms and are turned away, the results can be fatal. As many as 440,000 people die every year from mistakes like these – and Mr. Duncan is the latest, most frightening example of it. In this case, not only did providers at Texas Health Presbyterian turn away a patient who needed treatment, but they potentially unleashed a public epidemic that city, state and federal workers are desperately trying to contain.
Now a health care provider who treated Mr. Duncan has been diagnosed with Ebola. CDC chief Thomas Frieden said his agency will look into how a provider in protective gear managed to contract Ebola, but he has already concluded, “At some point there was a breach in protocol.” And for the second time in a month, Texas Health Presbyterian’s mistakes have caused another potentially deadly outcome. Contamination and the failure to contain the spread of infection is another common mistake in hospital settings.
Missed diagnoses can result in a missed heart attack, stroke, infection, or spinal cord injury, which can result in death or serious, permanent, and disabling injuries. Our law firm has handled cases in every one of those categories, and you can learn more about those types of cases on our results page. If you or a loved one were harmed because of a misdiagnosis or being released from a hospital too soon, contact us today.