Misdiagnosis leaves Los Angeles woman literally trapped in tomb

A lawsuit was recently filed in Los Angeles that was based on a very possible medical malpractice incident that occurred in July 2010. It was on this day that an 80-year-old woman was admitted to a medical center in Boyle Heights. Doctors determined that she had suffered a heart attack and pronounced her dead.

Likely following protocol, the body was transferred to the temperature controlled morgue. It wasn’t until a few days later that morticians received the body, and they noticed that something wasn’t right. The woman’s body was upside down, and there were unusual cuts and bruising on her face and her nose was broken.

The evidence indicated that her death had been misdiagnosed, and she had been alive when her body was brought to the morgue. The elderly woman had spent her final moments struggling “unsuccessfully to escape her frozen tomb,” noted court records.

This case acts as a very eerie metaphor for other cases of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. The elderly woman had no control over her fate after the misdiagnosis, and often neither do others who have suffered a misdiagnosis or a case involving the failure to diagnose an illness. Although they aren’t stuck in a literal tomb, they are slowly suffering complications unnecessarily.

Properly diagnosing an illness as soon as possible often does have an effect on the patient’s outcome. Those reading our post have probably heard the phrase “it’s a good thing that we caught it early” to describe a diagnosis like cancer.

A diagnosis made too late can narrow the window in which successful treatment options may be available. Misdiagnosis could also cause an individual to suffer unnecessary and painful medical procedures. It is something that shouldn’t happen, but it does. Those that lose a loved one as a result of this type of medical malpractice should consult with a Los Angeles attorney about their legal options.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Lawsuit: Woman frozen alive in L.A. hospital died trying to escape,” Victoria Kim, April 3, 2014

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