The family of a young woman from another state was recently awarded $9 million after the woman’s death, according to reports. At the time of her death, the woman was attending college. She went to the urgent care clinic complaining of shortness of breath and pain in her chest. However, because her symptoms seemed relatively mild, the doctor treating her sent her home with an antibiotic. The doctor did tell her to come back if the condition got worse.
The woman returned after her symptoms indeed did worsen. The trouble started on this trip to clinic, as a doctor who was new to the clinic saw her. Strangely, this doctor did not have access to information about the woman’s previous visit.
The thought was that if the doctor had known, the doctor would have been more likely to suspect blood clots, a critical medical condition that would have called for an immediate trip to the hospital. Instead, the doctor sent the woman back to her home with an inhaler. She died because of blood clots in her lungs the following day.
After the jury announced its wrongful death verdict against the woman’s medical providers, the attorneys for the family said that they attributed the problem to the clinic trying to see too many patients at once. The story illustrates how urgent care centers, whether associated with one of the Kansas City area’s many college campuses or otherwise, have an obligation to diagnose their patients accurately and treat them promptly. When they fail to uncover a serious medical condition, the end result is too often a tragic case like the one in this story. Missouri residents, or their families, who have been the victims of careless medical treatment at urgent care clinics may have options available to them.