A Missouri hospital has been ordered to pay $28.9 million for failing to diagnose a rare disorder that causes a buildup of copper in the body’s organs, known as Wilson’s disease.
The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities by Emilee Williams, who claimed that a delay in diagnosing Wilson’s Disease caused her to suffer more severe health problems than if the condition had been properly detected sooner.
According to allegations raised at trial, Williams went to the clinic in December 2012, complaining of fatigue, tremors, insomnia, panic attacks and other problems. She and her mother asked the attending doctor to conduct neurological tests and an MRI scan, but she refused, saying that the problems were most likely linked to anxiety and depression and prescribed medications for those conditions.
In May 2013, Williams returned because her conditions had worsened. Again, she asked for neurological testing and was refused, and returned and asked again in June 2013.
An MRI scan ultimately performed in August 2013 showed that Williams suffered from severe damage to her brain’s basal ganglia, caused by Wilson’s Disease.
Williams now suffers from a severe case of Wilson’s disease, which has caused severe brain damage, motor and speech impairment, tremors, sporadic contractions in her extremities, and she must now be fed through a feeding tube.
According to a report by the Springfield News-Leader, a jury in Greene County Circuit Court jury ruled in favor of Williams earlier this month, awarding her $28.9 million.
The hospital has indicated that it is exploring its legal options in response to the verdict.