A diabetic patient claimed that he was not properly cared for during and after a routine fasting blood test causing hypoglycemia and disorientation, resulting in a single-car rollover accident, his need for surgery and his inability to work, resulting in a $400,000 settlement.
The patient, a 53-year-old man with diabetes, had been assigned to take a fasting blood test which required him to not eat the night prior and morning of the test, or take his insulin the morning of. He was instructed not to take his insulin because it is used to lower blood sugar levels in response to eating and taking insulin without eating can induce hypoglycemia.
When the plaintiff arrived at the clinic for his blood test he was immediately taken to do the blood work, a process which took approximately ten minutes, and then released. The plaintiff left the office, and at 8:24 a.m. the results indicated that his blood sugar levels were below 50 mg/dl, what is considered to be a ‘panic level’. At 9a.m. a patient came into the office and told clinic employees that there was a man in the parking lot who was confused and disoriented. By the time the employees went to the parking lot, another patient reported a man with similar symptoms had just driven away. At 9:10a.m. the sheriff called the plaintiff’s wife to inform her that her husband had been involved in a single-car rollover crash. Paramedics reported that the plaintiff’s blood sugar levels were at 24 mg/dl. The plaintiff’s wife took him to a hospital where he was diagnosed with having a stable T12 compression fracture. He was observed for several days and then released.
A suit was filed claiming that the clinic had not properly diagnosed the plaintiff’s ‘hypoglycemic unawareness’ (a documented illness where a patient becomes hypoglycemic, but doesn’t realize their impaired mental state) and that the clinic employees were untrained and unqualified at recognizing signs of the illness. The plaintiff also claimed that the clinic lacked policies and procedures for testing diabetic patients, given that they know diabetic patients are at high risk for hypoglycemia. The case asserted diabetic patients should be given a snack and test results should be reviewed before they are allowed to leave the testing facility. The clinic argued that the patient must have taken his insulin, disregarding his doctor’s orders, to produce a drop that quickly in blood sugar levels, and that it was the patients responsibility to understand their disease and risks.
The A.W. Smith Law Firm reached a settlement about a month before trial for $400,000.
The A.W. Smith Law Firm in Columbia handles motor vehicle crashes all over the State of Missouri. If you have questions about how to choose a law firm that is equipped to handle your motor vehicle case, please contact us today at 573-443-7300 or visit are website at www.awsmithlaw.com. The A.W. Smith Law Firm has recovered millions in settlments and verdicts in serious injury and wrongful death cases.