Man disputes daughter’s brain-dead diagnosis

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2016 | Doctor Errors

New Mexico residents may already know about the father in California who managed to keep his daughter on life support after she had been diagnosed as brain-dead. The man’s daughter, now 29 years old, entered a comatose state in 2007 that was brought on by a seizure related to her anorexia.

In 2015, the woman suffered from an infection on her broken hip. When the woman’s father requested an operation to treat his daughter’s injury, doctors told him that they would not perform the operation on a brain-dead patient. The father then had two independent neurologists examine his daughter, and the neurologists determined that she was not brain-dead. During the test, the woman reacted to being pinched by moving her elbow and head.

The father won a lawsuit against the hospital, and his daughter was able to receive the treatment that she needed. However, the man’s lawyer said that it is common for hospitals to misdiagnose patients as brain-dead so that they do not have to provide them with further treatment. Patients that are classified as brain-dead are considered legally dead by many doctors, and these patients are often used as organ donors.

Drawing the line between comatose and brain-dead can be a contentious area of medicine. When a patient is declared brain-dead by doctors, the patient’s family members might believe that the patient is actually comatose. A family that is in this kind of situation may want to have a lawyer to represent their interests and the wishes of their hospitalized family member. If it is later determined that a patient was misdiagnosed as brain-dead, then a lawyer may help the patient’s family to file a medical malpractice claim against the hospital.


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