Legal Battle Ensues Over Kidney Stone Amputations

But Judge Charles Greene disagreed. In his order to overturn the jury's decision, he wrote, "While all defendants argued that Dr. Sharma (a doctor not sued in the case) was negligent and that her negligence caused injury to plaintiff, the jury heard evidence that both Dr. Kocik and Dr. Strong were negligent."

In those early morning hours, Dr. Kocik had stabilized Strong just before the end of her shift, and telephoned internist Dr. Strong, who was ending his shift off of hospital grounds around 6:30 a.m., lawyers for the two said.

"That's very normal, that it was over the phone," said Mark Rosen, attorney for Dr. Strong.

All lawyers agreed on that point. But what was said, assumed, or not said during that phone call has been a matter of intense debate.

Dr. Kocik claimed she said over the phone that she thought the patient likely had a kidney stone rather than a gall bladder problem, but Dr. Strong said he heard the patient likely had a gall bladder problem, not a kidney stone, according to Judge Charles Green's order on the plaintiff's motion for a new trial.

"Dr. Strong's theory was that for some reason, after 30 years experience, Dr. Kocik was dumb and didn't know how to talk on the telephone," said James Nosich, attorney for Dr. Kocik.

Woman Amputated After Kidney Stone Says She's Hopeful

Whatever was said, even more confusion ensued after the doctors hung up the phone -- each ended their shifts with no new doctor taking charge.

Green wrote "that no doctor was administering care to plaintiff because Dr. Kocik had gone off shift and left the hospital: Dr. Strong never came to the hospital; and Dr. Sharma arrived about three to four hours late for the start of her shift."

Nosich said the statue of limitations has passed for Strong to also sue Dr. Sharma, whose first name was not given by lawyers involved.

But as she waits for the possibility of the next trial, Strong said she hopes her trial will somehow help another person in the future.

"Hopefully, it's that this never happen to anybody again," said Strong. "I'm just hoping that some good will come out of all this."

Dr. Marie Savard, an ABC News medical contributor, said that while patients can't control everything, there are some key tactics that can be used to prevent delays and avoid an emergency room misdiagnosis.

"Never go it alone, identify what I call a health buddy somebody -- who's going to be that squeaky wheel," said Savard.

Savard said it's important for patients to realize that they are their own advocates in the healthcare system and one of the best things they can do is to take charge of their personal medical records.

"We often say 80 percent of the accuracy of your diagnosis comes from your past history," said Savard.

Unfortunately, Savard said most people don't have cradle-to-grave medical records, or any medical records that would be readily accessible to the emergency room staff. Savard said calling your family doctor and trying to involve him or her is a good first step in getting the right diagnosis. An alternative would be to bring a copy of some medical records with you.

"I always say, it's your health that's on the line. Mistakes are made. Doctors are human, at the end of the day this is not like a pilot, where you trust the pilot 100 percent of the time with your life," said Savard. "Her [Lisa Strong] insurance card got her in the door, it's your personal information and your advocate who you know that can save your life."

The Associated Press Contributed to the Article

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