When one thinks about the typical plaintiff or injured party in a medical malpractice case, a doctor is not likely the image that comes to mind. Yet sometimes even a doctor becomes ill, and when they seek medical treatment, they too should expect their healthcare workers to provide reasonable and competent care. Thus, when 26-year-old Dr. Jennifer Sidari from Pennsylvania died from a treatable blood clot condition while in the care of Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, her family brought a medical malpractice suit against the hospital and doctors for failing to diagnose and treat the condition.
Dr. Sidari graduated from the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, Pennsylvania on May 11, 2013. Shortly thereafter, she began to experience headaches and unexplained bruising, according to The Times-Tribune. After 10 days of symptoms, Dr. Sidari was admitted to the hospital on May 26, 2013. Her condition quickly deteriorated and, after a transfer to another hospital, Dr. Sidari died on May 29, 2013 from massive cerebral hemorrhaging, a stroke, and brain damage. According to the lawsuit, doctors and staff treating Dr. Sidari provided her with pain medications for her symptoms but did not consult with a neurologist or order a CT scan or other sort of head imaging study until she had been in the hospital for over 40 hours. Dr. Sidari was first administered anti-clotting medicine nine hours before her death. By then, according to the lawsuit, it was too late as she had already begun experiencing severe neurological problems. The hospital is contesting the allegations.
What Would a Reasonable and Prudent Doctor Do?
The heart of a medical malpractice case is analyzing and determining what a reasonable and prudent doctor with a similar background and in the same geographic area would have done in the same situation. Thus, the burden would be on the family of Dr. Sidari to show that reasonable and prudent medical professionals would have ordered certain tests earlier, had her see a neurologist sooner and/or administered anti-clotting medications quicker than the medical staff and professionals treating Dr. Sidari did. If they are successful in showing this – and if they are able to show this failure to diagnose and treat the blood clot disorder led to Dr. Sidari’s death – then the family would prevail.
Showing what a reasonable and prudent doctor would do is not always an easy task. Testimony from the injured patient or a deceased patient’s family is rarely ever enough to establish what a reasonable and prudent doctor would do in a certain situation. In the vast majority of cases, the plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case will need to present testimony from other doctors to show what sort of treatment or care would or should have been given in a particular case. The more doctors that would agree with what care should have been provided (or the more credible the doctor(s) who testify for the plaintiff), the better the plaintiff’s case will be.
Medical malpractice cases are complex and require intensive investigation and preparation in order for a plaintiff to be successful. The assistance of a qualified attorney who is familiar with the type of evidence necessary to win can help take some of the mystery and uncertainty out of the lawsuit process for injured patients and their families. Contact us today at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a healthcare worker.