Spinal Abscess Misdiagnosed as Musculoskeletal Disorder, Patient Dies from Meningitis; $4.7M Verdict

March 15, 2021 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


A patient who presented to a primary care physician with severe back pain, which the physician diagnosed as a musculoskeletal condition, died from bacterial meningitis due to a spinal abscess. In a lawsuit brought in Pennsylvania state court, a $4.7 million verdict has been returned for the plaintiffs, reports an article in the November 2020 Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts.

The 58-year-old patient began to experience severe back pain, which he attributed to raking. He called the physician, and the physician prescribed oxycodone/paracetamol. Despite the medication, the patient's back pain continued to be severe, so he visited the physician two days later. The physician ordered radiography, which identified arthritis but no fractures. During the exam, the physician did not take the patient's temperature or perform a neurologic workup. The patient died of bacterial...

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