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Death of boy in Queens could spur new hospital regulations

When an emergency room makes a mistake in diagnosing a patient's problem, serious repercussions can occur such as severe illness and death. Many times, emergency room mistakes can be avoided if physicians and staff take a serious look at the patient's symptoms. It is furthermore the responsibility of the hospital to contact the patient's family if a misdiagnosis is discovered. This, unfortunately, did not occur in the case of a young boy who died in Queens last year.

The boy was taken to an emergency room when a cut he had grew infected. His symptoms were attributed to a simple bellyache. In actuality, he had sepsis, which is an infection of the blood that can occur when a patient has an infection. The boy died from severe shock associated with the illness.

While the error of misdiagnosing the boy's condition was painful enough for the family, it was also revealed that they were never contacted by the hospital when lab tests showed something more serious. These emergency room errors prevented the boy from receiving the proper care that he needed, possibly resulting in his death.

The hospital's failure to recognize a serious condition, such as sepsis, has prompted the state of New York to create new regulations that would require hospitals to pay more attention to the illness to prevent this from happening again. While it is not known if the boy's family filed a lawsuit against the hospital for the errors committed, they might have a case to seek appropriate compensation. Anyone who has been the victim of emergency room mistakes can contact an experienced attorney to hold health care professionals responsible.

Source: The New York Times, "One Boy's Death Moves State to Action to Prevent Others," Jim Dwyer, Dec. 20, 2012

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