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Sepsis misdiagnosed as Raynaud's Syndrome; Firm obtains $2.25M settlement in wrongful death med-mal case

The firm obtained a $2.25 million settlement of a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family of woman who died following a misdiagnosis of her condition by an examining physician at a medical clinic.

The 41-year-old woman sought treatment due to symptoms of infection, as well as pain in her feet, difficulty in walking, and lack of sensation in her fingers. She had a bluish-purple skin discoloration around her mouth and nose.

At the time of her examination, however, her vital signs were recorded as normal.

Her spleen had been removed years earlier following a car accident. A person who has undergone a splenectomy is more susceptible to death from infection, especially pneumonia.

Despite noting the woman's prior splenectomy, the defendant treating physician did not diagnose an infection. He did not order a blood culture or antibiotics, or refer her to a hospital emergency room for further evaluation.

He instead misdiagnosed a benign condition known as Raynaud's Syndrome, which causes some areas of the body, including extremities, to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. He sent the woman home with instructions for treating the condition.

She died two days later at home of a bacterial infection. An autopsy concluded that she died of streptococcus pneumoniae sepsis.

At the time of her death, the woman left behind her husband and 2-year-old son.

The case settled at mediation during discovery in the case.