Urgent Care Misdiagnosis Results In Fatality

The family of Alabama’s Auburn University student Hope Johnson was awarded $9M in a medical malpractice case naming emergency medicine physician Dr. Zenon Bednarski and Dr. David Randall Willis, DO. Johnson died of a pulmonary embolism while under their care at Auburn Urgent Care. The 20-year-old student was prescribed hormonal birth control although her blood tests showed that she was at high risk for blood clots. Plaintiffs testified that Johnson’s gynecologist’s office incorrectly recorded lab results and prescribed birth control which put her at risk. About a month after being prescribed birth control, Johnson was admitted to Auburn Urgent Care in December of 2014.  She experienced shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and a sore throat and was diagnosed with bronchitis. She received an antibiotic.

The following day, Johnson had severe shortness of breath and her chest pain worsened. The urgent care clinic did not physically examine her but diagnosed her with high white blood cell count and shortness of breath. She was given an inhaler for her symptoms. Plaintiff’s attorney described the urgent care facility as having approximately ninety patients and one physician on duty at the time. Johnson died December 4, 2014, of “massive pulmonary emboli.”

Johnson’s doctors did not take into account that her mother had a history of multiple clots and a pulmonary embolism while pregnant. According to the National Blood Clot Alliance, “birth control pills are the leading method of birth control (contraception) in the United States. Although they do not cause blood clots, most birth control pills do increase a woman’s chance of developing a blood clot by about three to four times.”

Emergency medicine physicians treat many life-threatening medical conditions. Litigation in emergency medicine may involve allegations of missed or delayed diagnoses of acute conditions. From the treatment of common medical ailments to life-threatening conditions, Elite Medical Experts will provide you with the medical expert best suited to the fact pattern in your case.

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