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Failure to repeatedly diagnose multiple times for a severe illness over a several months time period resulted in major surgery

Phoenix, AZ |

Generally speaking, starting January 2012 I was in constant pain in my lower left back , sick all the time, raging migraines, and went to my doctor, nextcare, the hospital, and diagnostic imaging places. After multiple CT scans, x-rays, ultrasounds, weeks went by with no diagnosis. Weeks went by with multiple minor treatments vor a variety of things they "insisted" was what was wrong. Finally in March they found an 8 mm kidney stone in my left kidney and told me it will pass over the weekend (this was a thursday). On Sunday I ended up in the hospital in severe pain. After insisting and insisting the hospital look they found a quarter sized kidney stone with stag horns, which had clearly been there for a long time. I spent months in pain, lost my job in the end, I was always ill, over what

all the care providers were saying was "all in my head", "the flu" "an unknown ailment", "a tiny 8mm stone that shouldnt be causing any pain." The stone was the size of a quarter. I ended up having major life threatening surgery to have it removed through an incision in my back into my kidney. After surgery I couldnt walk for a week and had to be carried around my home. Can I sue the medical care providers for failure to diagnose and pain and suffering of months of illness and pain? The surgeon did wonders but all the care providers who failed to find a quarter sized stone resulted in my having to risk life or death, losing a kidney, permanant kidney damage, and multiple other horrific risks by the time the stone was removed.

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Attorney answers 3


As a matter of law, you may or may not have a claim. But as a practical matter, I do not see sufficient damages to justify pursuing it. Medical malpractice requires expert testimony to establish that the failure to make an earlier diagnosis was below the standard of care. Expert testimony is also required to show that injury resulted from the delay. The cost and risk of litigation is substantial. In your case, i suspect you would probably have needed the surgery even if the diagnosis had been made earlier. However, even including the surgery my impression is that the damages here are insufficient to justify ligation. Bear in mind that this is an off the cuff internet opinion, and probably worth what you are paying for it. If you feel strongly about the issue, you should consult an attorney for a more definitive opinion.


I am very sorry this happened to you as I know kidney stones are painful. However, I agree with Mr. Curtin. In Arizona, medical malpractice claims are difficult, expensive and time consuming to pursue. They require a showing that the physician providing you care fell below the standard of care. Standard of care is defined as what a reasonable physician of the same or similar training would have done in the same or similar circumstances. Here, you have multiple care providers who were unable to diagnose the stone, indicating that it is likely not one physician was negligent in their failure to diagnose if multiple physicians were unable to diagnose it. Second, in addition to a showing that your physician fell below the standard of care, you must also show that the physician's negligence directly caused you significant damages. In this instance, it appears that you did not suffer any additional damage as a result of the delay in diagnosis. You likely would have required surgery to remove the stone, no matter when it was diagnosed. I realize you endured pain and suffering for a longer period of time than you would have had the stone been diagnosed sooner, but unfortunately, that alone does not justify a medical malpractice claim. Additionally, I do not think you can show any one physician fell below the standard of care in view of the fact multiple providers did not diagnose the stone. You are free to consult with a medical malpractice attorney and have your medical records reviewed by an expert to determine if they feel you have a case you can pursue.


You situation sounds very unfortunate, and does appear to contain damages (lost wages, medical bills), but you really need to talk to an attorney about whether you have negligence. To be successful in a personal injury action, including medical malpractice, you need to successfully prove both negligence (breach of standard of care), and damages. Medical malpractice claims are a different breed. In AZ, there is no pre-litigation settlement like is often the case in auto collisions; you must file a lawsuit to obtain justice. In doing so, you must hire a physician to provide an opinion at the onset of the lawsuit that the physician you have brought a claim against failed to comply with his/her standard of care. Speak with a competent personal injury attorney who specializes in medical malpractice, like Mr. Curtin, who just recently obtained a very nice med mal verdict, as soon as possible.

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