Health

Iowa jury awards $27 million verdict in misdiagnosed flu case

Iowa jury awards $27 million verdict in misdiagnosed flu case

A jury has returned a $27 million verdict against a central Iowa medical clinic after a man with bacterial meningitis was misdiagnosed with the flu, suffered a stroke and said he was permanently injured

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa jury returned a $27 million verdict against a Des Moines medical clinic after a man with bacterial meningitis was misdiagnosed with the flu, suffered a stroke and was said to be permanently injured.

A Polk County jury returned a verdict Monday in a lawsuit filed in 2017 against UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine in Des Moines.

Joseph Dudley and his wife, Sarah Dudley, filed the lawsuit after Joseph fell ill in February 2017 and went to a clinic in southeast Des Moines. They reported that he had dizziness, delusions, headache, high fever and cough.

A physician’s assistant in charge of the clinic at the time diagnosed him with the flu, although tests came back negative, said Dudley’s attorney, Nick Rowley. Dudley was given Tamiflu and pain medication and sent home.

Two days later, he went to the emergency room at UnityPoint Iowa Methodist Medical Center, where a doctor diagnosed bacterial meningitis as a result of an infection of the heart valves. Dudley was placed in a medically induced coma and was in intensive care for eight days during which he had a series of strokes that caused hearing loss in his right ear, dizziness and lightheadedness, numb legs and feet, and significantly slower thinking and reaction time, he said. Rowley.

“Mr. Dudley will suffer permanent brain damage for life because they failed to do a simple blood test, a complete blood count,” said Rowley, founder of Trial Lawyers for Justice.

West Des Moines, Iowa, UnityPoint Health has 400 clinics, 20 regional hospitals and 19 community hospitals in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

UnityPoint Health spokesman Mark Tauscheck said the company believes it met well-established standards of care.

“We respect the jury’s proceedings, but we strongly disagree with this verdict and are exploring all options, including an appeal,” he said.



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