A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed by Jordan Bonny’s estate against Lakeland Regional Health Systems and her treating physicians alleging that they failed to treat her for cardiac conditions. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Alvarez cleared Jordan to play sports activities despite a history of passing out.
Jordan passed out while playing soccer a little over 10 months after being cleared to play sports by Dr. Alvarez and never regained consciousness. She was only 15 years old. The lawsuit alleges that the autopsy found that she had a “treatable, congenital cardiac defect.”
Let’s Talk Medicine First
You have to understand the medicine in every medical malpractice case in order to talk about whether the case is valid.
Very generally, the field of pediatric cardiology involves surgical and non-surgical treatments that depend on the conditions being treated. The lawsuit does not allege anything other than that Jordan’s congenital heart defect was “treatable.” What we don’t know is whether she was surgical or non-surgical from the lawsuit. Whether she was surgical or not would likely influence whether she could have been cleared to play sports.
In this instance, I see two glaring problems with the medical treatment provided. First, it does not appear that Jordan was referred to pediatric cardiology for evaluation before being cleared to return to sports. Second, Jordan was cleared to play sports when perhaps she possibly should have been advised to not to play sports considering her heart defect at least temporarily until cleared by a specialist.
Why Did This Happen?
The primary question in this case is going to be why a pediatric cardiology consult wasn’t ordered despite several prior incidences of passing out. When you review medical malpractice cases and you see this, it always gets your attention because there would have been no downside whatsoever for a doctor to recommend or order a specialty consult. While some may call that defensive medicine, the truth of the matter is that doctors should be concerned about the potential consequences of their actions with a decision making matrix.
As mentioned, there would have been no harm in ordering a specialty consult. However, there may be harm (particularly a life threatening one) if a patient has a condition that could be serious. So, under those circumstances, you would have to ask yourself why not make at least the recommendation to see a specialist? On the other hand, if you clear the patient who has passed out multiple times back to playing sports and something bad happens, then you may find yourself accused of doing something wrong (as is the case here).
Despite The Risks, It Happens All The Time
Unfortunately, I get calls all the time about failures to order specialty consults and people are mad that treatment of the real problem was delayed. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the delay doesn’t result in damages other than mere temporary inconvenience.
This is where doctors often go wrong because there is no malpractice for a “near miss” because there are no damages. However, when there damages, what may have been thought to be a near miss becomes a direct hit.
Get Help With Your Florida Medical Malpractice Case
This is where we come in. To find out whether your medical mistake has legal merit, contact us for a free consultation with a Lakeland, Florida medical malpractice attorney. We will discuss not only the circumstances of the complaint but also how your life has been impacted.
If your case has legal merit, we will pursue your case with no attorney fees or costs charged unless we recover money for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.