In September 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled to deny a request for an appeal from the Penn Neurological Institute at Pennsylvania Hospital. The appeal would have reexamined a $9,654,551 award issued to a former patient, Eric Davenport, who sued the hospital for medical malpractice after being misdiagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In reality, Davenport was suffering from spinal cord compression — something he didn’t find out until much later.
ALS, a neurodegenerative condition that damages nerve cells in the brain and spine, is a difficult disease to diagnose because many other conditions can mimic its symptoms. However, because an ALS diagnosis is usually untreatable, a misdiagnosis can lead to a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering — and often, a critical delay in treatment of a patient’s true ailment.
This was the case for Davenport and his family, and thus, he decided to sue his physician, the University of Pennsylvania trustees and other hospital officials for the undue pain and suffering he endured. At the trial, he argued the following:
- His neurologist gave him a sure diagnosis of ALS.
- Because of the incorrect ALS diagnosis, his spinal cord compression went untreated.
- As a result of the lack of treatment, he later lost the ability to walk
The trial ended in Davenport’s favor when the jury awarded him $9.65 million, an amount that has now risen to approximately $11.6 million due to accumulated interest.
Misdiagnosis due to negligent miscalculation, failure to take patient history or another careless error is a form of medical malpractice, and victims have a right to compensation for undue medical costs, health consequences and emotional pain and suffering. Seek support from a qualified attorney if you or a loved one has suffered due to a medical professional’s error or negligence in Bergen County or elsewhere in New Jersey.