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Inmate files medical malpractice claim re nearly fatal infection

When one contracts a serious illness, he or she should be entitled to appropriate and timely medical care -- no matter where one resides. Unfortunately, that standard appears not to apply to Arizona inmates. One inmate recently filed a medical malpractice claim against the prison system where he is incarcerated after nearly dying from a missed diagnosis of a deadly infection.

According to the lawsuit, the man first observed a swelling on his leg that caused the skin to become stretched and prone to tearing. The painful swelling increased in size and he later developed symptoms similar to an earlier bout of pneumonia. After being checked by nursing staff in the medical unit, he was diagnosed with the disease in both lungs and provided with an oral antibiotic. When the medication failed to bring any relief, he was once again treated at the medical unit and diagnosed with Valley Fever, a fungal infection.

As the man's health continued to deteriorate,  he received a different diagnosis of tuberculosis and was finally taken to a local hospital. Nursing staff had suggested seeking advanced medical care three weeks prior. Once he was admitted, doctors accurately diagnosed him with MRSA, a potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant infection that had spread in his body. The patient required a heart valve replacement due to the infectious growths in his heart.

As he was in recovery, he suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. He was informed that the replacement valve was insufficient for his needs and that he would require a pacemaker for the rest of his life. The lawsuit was filed against several members of the medical unit staff as well as Arizona Department of Corrections and the medical provider for the prison system. Sadly, this is not the only case involving a misdiagnosis within the correctional system. Anyone who has suffered greater harm from inadequate or inappropriate health care treatment may have grounds for legal recourse through a medical malpractice civil lawsuit.

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