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Family says Medical malpractice turned toe infection deadly

New Jersey patients might be interested to hear that a 33-year-old man who visited a clinic because of a toe infection ended up dead because of the incompetence of the medical facility's personnel, according to a lawsuit that led to an award of $2.5 million. The family and fiancee of the man, who worked as a forklift driver, claimed medical malpractice in the 2011 death, which occurred after the man had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic prescribed for the infection.

The man went to a clinic for treatment of an infected toe. The clinic prescribed him an antibiotic medicine. Records show that he returned to the clinic five more times for pain, headaches, nausea and other complaints, but he was given pain killers and instructed to keep taking the antibiotic. He ultimately died from liver and renal failure due to his allergic reaction to that medicine. A lawyer for the family said that the tragedy occurred because the clinic failed to do proper blood testing, which would have revealed the man's allergy to the antibiotic.

The $2.5 million settlement needed approval from the U.S. Department of Justice because the healthcare facility receives federal funding and the suit was filed in federal court. The lawsuit's allegations were denied by the U.S. Attorney's office, and a representative for the office said that the settlement was not yet finalized, and even if it were, there would be no comment from the office unless it was put in a public document.

In Essex County, medical malpractice can involve a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose, which can lead to a worsened medical condition and greater medical expenses. The U.S. justice system allows individuals who have suffered personal injury or who have lost a loved one due to a fatal medical error to seek redress in a court of law.

Source: Insurance Journal, "$2.5M Settlement In Hawaii Malpractice Began With a Toe", November 15, 2013

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