In a recent North Carolina appellate case, the plaintiff appealed after a lower court granted a directed verdict for a hospital on a medical negligence claim. The plaintiff claimed that the hospital’s process for X-ray over-read discrepancies wasn’t up to the professional standard of care for hospitals.
The case arose when a man came to the ER of a hospital, asking for treatment for his pain. He had sickle cell anemia. In the ER, he was treated by a doctor who gave him pain medication and a saline solution and ordered different tests.
The tests showed most of his vital signs were normal. His white blood cell count was high, but his red blood cells were normal, and his body didn’t show inflammation. The doctor found his chest x-ray to be normal and, thinking his vital signs were normal, discharged him from the hospital early in the morning and told him to come back if he got worse. The man did come back a day later, and the ER doctors decided he had acute chest syndrome, which is a complication of sickle cell anemia. He was admitted to the ICU and died early the next morning in spite of getting more treatment.