So what was the trial all about? It involved a man who went to the ER complaining about severe abdominal pain. The symptoms were classic for an appendicitis. A surgeon was called and she performed an appendectomy. It turned out that the appendix was not diseased, but that is the case in 10-20% of the time. The patient developed a wound infection, but that was taken care of. He still felt ill and so a barium enema was ordered to check out his lower GI tract. He missed his appointment and he got sicker. He finally went to another doctor who gave him the enema. Right after the enema was administered he ended up back in the ER with more pain. They did another surgery and found potential small leaks in his intestine. They fixed that problem and he recovered. It turned out that the original diagnosis was wrong and he had had a severe urinary tract infection. The only problem was that he never described symptoms characteristic of a UTI. He sued the doctor who had done the appendectomy because he thought she had jumped the gun with surgery and had misdiagnosed the UTI. We all agreed that there were a few mistakes made by the doctor in terms of record keeping, but that her actions pretty much fell in line with what any doctor might have done. We felt bad for the patient because he had been through hell for a few months, but his misery could not be directly tied to the doctor.
And so here is my word of advice. Whenever you have medical problems, make sure everything is documented accurately and in detail. Be sure to tell the doctor all of your symptoms and be as precise as you can. It may save you a whole lot of problems.