Misdiagnosis of Sepsis & Pneumonia Proves Fatal

internal medicine expert

Terry Lee Courts filed a medical negligence lawsuit against internist Matthew Harris M.D, in West Virginia’s Cabell Circuit Court (case number 19-C-284). Mr. Courts is the administrator of the estate of his late wife, Stephanie Renee Courts, who was under Dr. Harris’s care when she passed away from sepsis and pneumonia. The internal medicine physician is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Pleasant Valley Hospital.

The complaint states that Mrs. Courts was seen by the defendant at Pleasant Valley Hospital on July 30, 2017, complaining of shortness of breath. She was discharged and sent home with antibiotics and steroids, along with instructions to follow up with her primary care physician. She saw Dr. Harris again on July 31, 2017, when he gave her an injection of steroid medication and discharged her. Two days later, Mrs. Courts was taken to the emergency room for worsening shortness of breath and unresponsiveness. She died the same day due to sepsis and pneumonia. The defendant is accused of violation of the Medical Professional Liability Act.  The West Virginia act states:

55-7B-3. Elements of proof.

(a) The following are necessary elements of proof that an injury or death resulted from the failure of a health care provider to follow the accepted standard of care:

(1) The health care provider failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a reasonable, prudent health care provider in the profession or class to which the health care provider belongs acting in the same or similar circumstances; and

(2) Such failure was a proximate cause of the injury or death.

(b) If the plaintiff proceeds on the “loss of chance” theory, i.e., that the health care provider’s failure to follow the accepted standard of care deprived the patient of a chance of recovery or increased the risk of harm to the patient which was a substantial factor in bringing about the ultimate injury to the patient, the plaintiff must also prove, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that following the accepted standard of care would have resulted in a greater than twenty-five percent chance that the patient would have had an improved recovery or would have survived.

Internal medicine deals with the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. Internists complete three years of residency training before seeking board certification in internal medicine. These medical professionals must be able to recognize and treat nearly every major medical condition. Litigation against internal medicine physicians may involve allegations of missed or delayed diagnosis as well as accompanying medication and treatment errors. Contact Elite Medical Experts to find the internal medicine expert witness suited to the fact pattern in your case. Elite has 182 specialties and 3,295 search terms to aid you in finding the medicine expert witness you need.



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