Misdiagnosis of Contrast Material Reaction as UTI, Patient Death Prompts $9.5M Verdict

July 11, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​A physician in Florida has been held liable for a $9.5 million verdict in a malpractice lawsuit alleging that the she misdiagnosed a fatal reaction to contrast material as a urinary tract infection (UTI) and failed to examine the patient. The 54-year-old patient was receiving continuing care for a serious blood disorder which showed signs of worsening. On May 18, the patient underwent a computed tomography scan that involved injection of a contrast material. The patient returned to the clinic on May 22 with complaints of blood in her urine and vaginal bleeding even though she was postmenopausal. The physician, who did not examine the patient but relied on information obtained from a medical assistant's examination, diagnosed a urinary tract infection, and prescribed an antibiotic. The patient experienced frequent vomiting the next day, which the doctor attributed as a reaction to the antibiotic, and on the following day, she was taken to the hospital where she was determined to have acute hemolytic anemia caused by the contrast material.

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