Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Abusive Misdiagnosis

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Feb 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

A jury in New Jersey has awarded a child and his mother $45 million in a medical malpractice case. The lawsuit was filed by Sabrina Bonilla on behalf of her son. It claimed doctors at the former South Jersey Regional Medical Center failed to diagnose her son's leg fracture in 2005.

Ms. Bonilla filed a claim against two doctors – Dr. Ilmia Choudhary and Dominic Diorio who were employed at the South Jersey Regional Medical Center. The child, unbeknownst to the mother, suffered abuse from his father which resulted in a fractured leg at the age of just two months. Sabrina brought her son to the South Jersey Medical Center. Upon arrival, she told Dr. Diorio that her child was unable to straighten his right leg and that he would cry when the leg was touched. X-rays were ordered but the doctor concluded that there was no definitive fracture after reviewing a report from a nonparty radiologist who read the X-ray results remotely on his home computer. After a fracture was ruled out, the child was sent back into the abusive environment, his parent's home.

The morning after the child was discharged, South Jersey Regional Medical Center's attending radiologist looked at the X-ray and thought it was possible that a fracture did exist but thought additional X-rays were needed in order to make a conclusive diagnosis. The radiologist's report was given to Dr. Choudhary, the attending emergency room doctor, who was obligated under hospital policy to contact the child's parents and arrange for additional tests, but no contact was made.

At trial, the plaintiff claimed that had the doctors properly diagnosed the child as having had a fractured femur, police would likely have been brought in and the child would not have been allowed to have been returned home without an investigation.

A week after the misdiagnosis, the mother brought the child back to the hospital where he was then diagnosed as having brain damage as a result of a head injury suffered at the hand of his father after the child returned home from the hospital. The father admitted to throwing the child into his crib after not being able to stand the constant crying which was likely the result of the untreated femur fracture.

If the child had been properly diagnosed, he would not have been at home and would not have been in a position to receive abuse from his father.

The father was ultimately convicted of second-degree aggravated assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and sentenced to eight years in prison.

The defendants argued that if the mother was not aware of the abuse, how would they have been expected to have been aware. However, it was the misdiagnosis that led to the child being put back into the path of harm. A jury awarded the plaintiff $45 million in damages. The court found that the child's father was responsible for $27 million, Dr. Choudhary for $15.75 million and Dr. Diorio for $2.25 million.

Medical malpractice can have devastating effects that last a lifetime. If you have been injured by a physician's neglect, attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian will work to get you the full compensation to which you are entitled. Call 800-529-6162 today or contact them online for a free case evaluation. They handle cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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