The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that six million adults in the United States suffer from kidney disease at one time. When someone suffers from kidney disease, their kidneys cannot filter the waste from their blood with the same efficiency as healthy kidneys. When the waste and associated toxins remain in the body, other health problems can arise. Many people who suffer from kidney disease are asymptomatic during its early stages, making it ever so important for a competent doctor to run the necessary blood and urine tests to properly diagnose the illness in those who are at risk. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen.
Medical errors—such as the failure to diagnose or the improper diagnosis of an illness or disease—occur far too often. These grave errors cause patients to suffer additional health problems or tragically die at the hands of a negligent doctor or other medical professionals. Failing to diagnose or improperly diagnosing an illness or disease are two of the most common types of medical malpractice. When a doctor or other medical professional fails to diagnose kidney disease, a patient’s kidneys fail. By the time this occurs, the only treatment to survive is either kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant, greatly increasing the likelihood of death.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm to your physical health because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose kidney disease or you suffered the loss of a kidney due to medical negligence, Florida law entitles you to seek compensation for damages in civil court. A Miami medical malpractice attorney can answer your questions about taking legal action during a free consultation. Below we offer more information about the injuries that can result when doctors who should be competent at diagnosing kidney disease commit malpractice.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Accompanying Complications
The CDC defines chronic kidney disease as any condition that prevents your kidneys from working at full capacity for three months or longer. CKD can result from a doctor’s failure to diagnose kidney disease and leads to all types of health issues and complications related to the loss of kidney function, many of which result in death without immediate medical treatment. Many diseases and conditions can fall under the umbrella of CKD. They include:
- Chronic kidney infections are a type of urinary tract infection that can occur when one or both kidneys start to lose function and leave bacteria-laden waste in the body, creating toxic urine. If left untreated, a kidney infection can lead to permanent kidney damage, problems with pregnancy, and blood poisoning—more commonly called sepsis.
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that refers to the development of cysts within the kidneys. As the cysts grow, kidneys enlarge and gradually lose their function. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s not uncommon for people to have PKD for years and not know. Yet, diagnosing this kidney disease early gives patients a chance to make lifestyle changes that can help prevent some associated complications like high blood pressure and kidney failure.
- Rhabdomyolysis—or the breakdown of muscle tissue—causes the contents of muscle fibers to get leaked into the blood, which often leads to kidney damage. Rhabdomyolysis can occur as a result of anything that breaks down skeletal tissue, including, but not limited to the following: genetic muscle diseases; drug use; body temperature extremes; seizures; marathon running; long surgeries; and ischemia, which is the death of muscle tissue.
- Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in plasma cells. Cancer builds up in bone marrow and crowds out healthy blood cells by producing abnormal proteins. Multiple myeloma can impact kidney function and cause kidney failure because of excess calcium in the blood from eroding bones.
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) refers to a condition where the small blood vessels in kidneys become damaged and inflamed, which causes blood clots. These clots make it difficult for the kidneys to filter, which leads to deadly kidney failure. HUS most often occurs in young children, who often fully recover. But if left untreated, HUS can lead to other life-threatening conditions such as high blood pressure, strokes, seizures, coma, heart problems, and digestive issues.
How Can a Kidney Disease Attorney Help You?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex cases that can involve multiple parties and several procedural requirements that start before even bringing a lawsuit. A kidney disease lawyer can help you meet all deadlines and criteria and give you the best chance at receiving compensation for your undiagnosed kidney disease. Under Florida law, the special pre-suit investigation requirements include:
- Apply for a pre-suit investigation by providing “reasonable grounds” for your medical malpractice claim, based on the opinion of a medical expert.
- Send notice to all defendants you’ve named in your claim, including copies of medical records and a list of doctors you have visited in the past two years.
- Send a copy of your complaint to Florida’s Department of Health. If you named the hospital in your complaint, you must also notify Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Both agencies review complaints and choose whether to discipline the doctor who caused your kidney troubles.
- Allow 90 days for the defendants to conduct their pre-suit investigation, so they have the time for their insurance company to determine fault and decide if malpractice has occurred. Once the defendants answer your claim, you have the longer of 60 days, or the remainder of the statute of limitations time frame, to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, which is typically two years under Florida law.
Get the Legal Help You Need from a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney
Kidney damage is serious, even when it doesn’t immediately lead to death. Depending on the exact injuries or loss, a doctor’s failure to diagnose kidney disease can have a lasting financial impact on victims and their families, on top of the physical pain and emotional stress of a medical error. If a doctor’s negligence has caused you harm, you deserve compensation. If you take legal action, you may receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses you’ve incurred as a result of medical malpractice. Contact a Miami medical malpractice attorney for a free case evaluation and to share your malpractice story, including how your injuries have impacted your life.