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Doctor's lack of care caused permanent hearing loss, woman says

Readers in Chicago may be shocked to learn about the series of missed opportunities that doctors at several medical facilities in another state had to possibly save a woman's hearing in her right ear. The woman has filed a medical malpractice suit against the facilities, including a hospital, a doctor's office and a minute clinic, accusing the doctors and nurses at each of them of repeated misdiagnosis of her illness.

According to the lawsuit, the woman began experiencing hearing loss in her ear in late March 2011. Understandably concerned, she went to the emergency room early in the morning and was treated by a doctor who diagnosed her with an ear infection. He told her to see her doctor if it had not cleared up in a few days.

But within a few hours, the symptoms had grown much worse. The woman was now almost totally deaf in the ear and was experiencing ringing, dizziness and was vomiting. She returned to the hospital where a second ER doctor told her she had tinnitus and vertigo. Once again she was told to rest, though she was referred to a third physician if she did not get better after a week.

As the woman grew sicker and sicker, she continued to search for someone who could figure out what was wrong with her and provide treatment. Finally, three weeks after her initial ER visit, a specialist found that she had suffered permanent hearing loss in her right ear that, the suit says, was likely caused by the lack of treatment she received earlier.

Partial deafness can disqualify people for a variety of jobs and has an impact on the patient's quality of life. It would be frustrating for many people to learn that they lost their hearing when they did not have to.

Source: The Green River Star, "Misdiagnosis leads to lawsuits," Stephanie Thompson, July 10, 2013

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